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Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Releases Fall Conditions Report


Written By: Eric Anderson, Dec 10, 2015
Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Releases Fall Conditions Report
Dec. 10 - 2015
[Full report is here ]
[Note:  As snowfall can dramatically impact runoff, the report is not a runoff forecast but rather an early indication of what areas are more vulnerable to above or below normal runoff.]
 
Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the 2015 Conditions at Freeze-up Report.  The report summarizes the water supply conditions during the late fall and early winter period.  This report helps provide a better understanding of the conditions on the ground in preparation for spring runoff in 2016.

The majority of the province has normal moisture conditions for this time of year; however, some areas in eastern Saskatchewan still have a higher than normal amount of moisture on the landscape going into winter.

The Pipestone, Qu’Appelle, Assiniboine, Red Deer, Torch, and Carrot River Basins all have above normal moisture conditions for this time of year.  Some stream flows in the Qu’Appelle, Pipestone and Assiniboine Basins were at above normal levels at the end of October.

While spring and early summer precipitation was well below normal across much of the province, above normal late summer and fall precipitation resulted in near normal precipitation accumulations across most of Saskatchewan between April 1 and October 31, 2015.

On October 26, 2015, topsoil moisture conditions were generally described as adequate across the grainbelt with the exception of an area in the northeast and a few pockets in east central areas of the province where conditions are described as surplus.  However, precipitation received during the first three weeks of November has resulted in additional areas with surplus soil moisture conditions.

Long range forecasts for this winter are suggesting below normal precipitation.

Overall, since 2010, the WSA’s groundwater observation well network has shown an overall increase in groundwater levels throughout the province.

The initial Spring Runoff Outlook for 2016 will be issued in early February.   For more information ,visit www.wsask.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997
 
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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with water spring runoff Saskatchewan flooding draught | More articles by Eric Anderson

Saskatchewan announces new agriculture drainage regulations


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 01, 2015

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES NEW AGRICULTURE DRAINAGE REGULATIONS

 

Released on September 1, 2015

First Phase in the Development of an Agricultural Water Management Strategy

Today, Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Herb Cox announced new drainage regulations in Saskatchewan. The new regulations are the first phase of an agricultural water management strategy that recognizes the benefits of drainage and the importance of mitigating negative impacts.

“We recognize drainage is an important water management tool for producers and these new regulations will help us streamline the approval process to help producers become compliant while mitigating damage downstream,” Cox said. “These new regulations are part of the development of a risk based agricultural water management strategy that will improve the overall process, including applications and investigating complaints, and will help prevent future issues.”

The key changes in the new regulations are:

  •    ensuring that impacts related to flooding, water quality and habitat loss are addressed as part of the drainage works approval process;
  •    allowing landowner agreements as evidence of land control;
  •    simplifying and streamlining the application approval process;
  •    no longer exempting works constructed before 1981 from requiring an approval; and
  •    enabling the use of “qualified persons” in the design of higher risk drainage works.

These drainage regulations fulfill a commitment made in the 2014 Speech from the Throne. This is the first significant change to drainage regulations in 35 years.

The new drainage regulations were created after extensive online and industry stakeholder consultations. More than 500 public participants and 15 industry and environmental groups provided input into the creation of the new approach to drainage in Saskatchewan.

The new regulations are the first step in a phased-in approach to bring all drainage in the province into compliance over the next 10 years. These changes facilitate the start of the overall approach to the agricultural water management strategy.

The next phase of the agricultural water management strategy will be the development and refining of policies and program delivery which will be used in a series of pilot projects and then expanded to the rest of the province.

The pilot projects are based in the Souris Basin near Stoughton and the Assiniboine Basin near Canora. Local producers, watershed authorities and representatives in those areas have committed to working with the WSA to implement the new agricultural water management strategy and to help bring existing drainage projects into compliance.

The WSA will continue working with stakeholders on this strategy to develop policies on mitigation, application processes and informational materials.

“Drainage is one of the major issues facing rural Saskatchewan so we are pleased that the government is implementing regulations meant to address deficiencies with the current system,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said. “We have been awaiting this announcement and look forward to working with the government on the implementation of these regulations and further refinement of the agriculture water management strategy as it is phased in over the next few years.”

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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with Saskatchewan drainage water management | More articles by Eric Anderson