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2023 Preliminary Runoff Report

CANADA, February 8 - Released on February 8, 2023

Please note: This release contains updated data.

Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the preliminary spring runoff outlook for 2023 as it prepares its initial Spring Runoff Report for March 2023. The information gathered in this report is based on conditions as they were on February 1, 2023.

The report shows most of southern Saskatchewan with below normal to near normal snowmelt runoff potential. Well below normal runoff is expected in the Maple Creek area where mid-winter melts have depleted the snowpack. South of the Cypress Hills and in the southeast, near normal snowmelt runoff is expected. Central areas of the province and the northwest are also expected to experience near normal snowmelt runoff. With a below normal snowpack, areas in the far northeast are expected to see a below normal snowmelt runoff.

While much of southern Saskatchewan has a snowpack that is thought to be near to above normal, dry conditions at freeze-up, particularly over areas west of Swift Current and Outlook over to the Alberta Border, are expected to reduce runoff yields. This may result in minimal replenishment of surface water supplies within this area and potentially some shortages later in 2023. At this time, the risk of snowmelt related flooding in the province is low.

Runoff potential is determined based on several factors including the conditions at freeze-up, the snowfall received to date and potential expected further precipitation between now and spring melt.

The melt rate is expected to have a significant impact on runoff yields, particularly within the southwest and west central areas of the province. With depleted subsoil moisture, a slow melt will likely result in the bulk of the snowpack recharging the soil column. A rapid melt is likely needed to result in an improvement to surface water supplies. The current snowpack is likely insufficient to satisfy both. Without additional snowfall, surface water supply issues are likely to occur in southwestern Saskatchewan in 2023.

The spring runoff outlook could change as there we could have a further 10 weeks of winter. The first spring runoff forecast will be issued in early March.


For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-631-6997