Canadian Water Situation - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Canadian Water Situation

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The spring runoff is looking good on the Souris River in Canada.

That's how officials with Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency assess the situation today.

Jim Olson was in southern Saskatchewan this week and reports on the flood outlook for the Souris-Mouse River system.

(Jim Olson, KX News) "Welcome to Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan. This is one of the places where the Souris River has not even taken shape - it's at the northern end of the watershed, and there's plenty of water around."

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "Areas with moderate snow cover just kind of melted in two days and we had some real high peaks."

Dale Hjertaas of the Water Security Agency in Saskatchewan says the melt in southern areas of the province has been like ours in North Dakota - fast.

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "It's been a very unusual runoff - we've never had one this late before that anyone can remember."

The vast majority of the watershed has lost nearly all its snow - this is the very start of the Souris River in Weyburn early Thursday morning - when a deer decided to swim across. You can see most of the snow is gone - only the northeastern parts of the basin still have major snow to melt.

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "They have quite a bit of snow pack in the very northern areas and are probably just starting to melt. It will come pretty quickly when it starts to warm up again this weekend."

(Jim Olson, KX News) "The big question is have the projections been accurate? Will the Rafferty Dam and Alameda Dam and Boundary Dam be able to hold back all the water that is ready to come in to the reservoirs? It's a question the Water Security Agency says it can answer in the affirmative."

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "Those reservoirs still have large amounts of storage capacity and so that water will stay in the reservoirs until the peaks are over and then we'll let out any surplus."

Hjertaas says overall it looks like predictions for runoff into the reservoirs in Saskatchewan is well within the range of estimates.

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "Probably looking like the inflows will come in a little lower than we predicted back in April."

For example, here at Boundary Reservoir, the peak was hit this week and was lower than expected - and releases are being cut back. At Rafferty and Alameda, the major inflow is yet to come, but there are several feet of storage available in both.

(Dale Hjertaas, Water Security Agency) "Barring some major rainfall event we're looking pretty good here in the Souris."

That's encouraging news downstream, where Lake Darling releases have re-started at about 11-hundred CFS and the level of the lake is rising. As of now the Corps of Engineers plans to keep releases at that level through the weekend to see how the river and lake are handling the runoff. All in all, it's an encouraging outlook for the river portion of this spring runoff season. Jim Olson, KX News.

Hjertaas says the runoff estimate may have been too high because more melted snow absorbed into the ground than expected, reducing the runoff amount.

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