WSA predicts below normal to well below normal runoff levels for most of southern Saskatchewan

Water Security Agency logo from their website,

Farmers in the Saskatoon area west of Biggar, and those along the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border should have normal runoff this spring, but things are looking much drier for the rest of southern Saskatchewan.

The Water Security Agency (WSA) released their Spring Runoff Forecast for 2024 on Tuesday. In it, they predicted much of Southern Saskatchewan would receive below normal to well below normal levels of runoff this spring.

David Marit, the Minister Responsible for the WSA, said the government is prepared to help producers in areas with dry conditions.

“More moisture will be needed as temperatures continue to stay above zero,” Marit said in a press release. “WSA will still be taking as many proactive measures as possible to prepare for changing conditions.”

Marit said recent high snowfall levels helped the province’s situation, but it may not be enough to avoid another year of dry contentions.

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) received roughly 14,200 claims in 2023, paying out and estimated $1.8 billion in insurance claims. By August, more than 50 Saskatchewan RMs had declared agricultural disasters due to drought and grasshoppers.

The recent storms in early March brought up to 40 cm in snow across southern and central Saskatchewan. The WSA said that has the potential to improve runoff conditions, but snowpack levels are already low, meaning it will take a few more storms for spring runoff conditions to improve.

As of March 4, the WSA was reporting snowpack levels ranging from below normal to well-below normal across Saskatchewan.

Tuesday’s report was an update to the original report released in February. That report did not include snowpack measurements.