Water Security Agency in the Field for Snow Surveys

Abdur Rahman Khan

The Water Security Agency (WSA) is once again preparing to undertake snow water equivalent sampling to help create a complete picture of the spring runoff potential for Saskatchewan.

“To ensure the province’s water needs for communities, farmers and ranchers, industry and recreation users, the Water Security Agency manages the province’s water supply year-round,” Minister Responsible for WSA Jeremy Cockrill said. “That’s why every February, as part of our regular monitoring, WSA personnel gather snowpack data to help fill in other data gathered from other monitoring sites.”

WSA staff will be in the field at over a hundred sites later this month, carrying out snow surveys to help forecast the runoff potential, providing information on water supply and flood risks. Much of Saskatchewan’s runoff comes from snowmelt, so these surveys are a key piece of information for forecasters.

WSA staff will collect a column of snowpack using a graduated tube, weigh the samples and then calculate the average snow-to-water equivalency for that area. Surveys from across the province contribute to the runoff potential map released every spring. Gathering and publishing this information helps municipalities, producers, industry and other users plan ahead.

This annual process is one of the many ways WSA manages Saskatchewan’s water resources to improve our quality of life every day.

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