Quicker melt this year for Sask. Assiniboine River basin ‘nothing we haven’t seen before’

Photo courtesy of Meridee Kopelchuk. The banks of the Whitesand River, part of the Assiniboine Valley Basin, are higher than usual due to high water flows.

Cleo Ding, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Canora Courier

The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency issued a high water flow advisory for the Assiniboine River basin in the east central region from the quick melt of the snowpack, but farmers say it’s just another “typical runoff season.”

On April 11, the agency told area residents in a media release to expect elevated flows along rivers and streams. 

“No communities are currently at risk of flooding, however some localized flooding may occur on agricultural lands.”

Jordan Lindgren runs a family farm near Norquay, one of the towns that has observed elevated springtime flows over the years. 

Lindgren said he wouldn’t call the flows ‘a flood’. What we are seeing as ‘floods’ when passing the towns is a result of poor road conditions which allows the water to wash the top gravel, he said.

“The moisture is certainly welcome,” he said of his farm. “Filling dugouts for cattle farmers and bringing our water table up are really significant… we can have some reserved moisture.”

With less snow and an earlier snowmelt, there may not be as much moisture as what would usually have soaked in the soil, but it will replenish with the recent rain, Lindgren said.

Since the farming industry has transformed its practices in the past decades, the only challenge for farmers, he said, is to bring back the uncovered and loose soils that were washed away by the water – a job that is easily done with modern farm equipment.

Lindgren said the crop planted through the soil itself will help prevent the washouts throughout the year. 

Still, the east central region is monitored and assistance is available if communities or individuals need assistance with flood control, the agency said in the release.

But for now, farmers seem to embrace the moisture and have their worries melted away. 

“If we can get rolling in the first week of May,” Lindgren said about the upcoming seeding season, “we’re happy.”