Spring runoff projections up in Sask. after March snowfall

Heavy snowfall across much of the province in early March is expected to mean normal or above normal snowmelt runoff, except in some drier pockets in southern Saskatchewan, according to the Water Security Agency.

Flooding not expected, Water Security Agency says

The Water Security Agency had initially projected a below normal runoff for much of Saskatchewan prior to a large dump of snow in early March. (ICI Saskatchewan)

Heavy snowfall across much of Saskatchewan in early March is expected to mean normal or above normal snowmelt runoff, according to the Water Security Agency (WSA).

There's one exception: there are still drier pockets in southern Saskatchewan.

WSA had initially projected a below normal runoff for many areas in its February forecast because of below-normal moisture conditions across southern Saskatchewan at freeze-up in 2017 and low snowfall through early winter.

March's snowfall brought between 20 and 45 centimetres of precipitation to southeastern areas of the province, bringing the snowpack to near or above normal levels.

North Battleford, Saskatoon, Regina and Yorkton are now expected to receive a near-normal snowfall runoff, along with the northern boreal forest area.

Above normal runoff is expected in areas that received above average precipitation through 2017 and winter, including the Buffalo Narrows, Prince Albert, Hudson Bay and Nipawin.

Flows are expected to be higher than normal but flood levels are not anticipated.

A band stretching southeast through Kindersley, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Estevan is still projected to experience a lower than normal spring runoff. More moisture before the summer months would help prevent potential agricultural and municipal water supply shortages, the WSA said.

WSA projects that all major water supply reservoirs will have enough water in 2018, due to previous years of high runoff and water management. Good flows on the Saskatchewan River system are anticipated due to an above average snowpack throughout the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.