The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) has released its March runoff forecast, and it's calling for near normal runoff in the southeast corner of the province.
But that hasn't stopped the WSA from releasing water from both Rafferty Dam and Alameda Dam.
Releases from Rafferty Dam were at one cubic metre per second (m3/s) until March 12, when the releases jumped to three m3/s. They will be ramped up again to seven m3/s on March 14.
"This is a precaution to give us more room as we anticipate the spring runoff," said Ken Cheveldayoff, the minister responsible for the WSA. "We want to be in a position so that we can absorb as much of the run-off as possible."
Releases have also been happening at Alameda Dam.
Cheveldayoff said that they have been releasing water from Rafferty and Alameda since December.
"Rafferty is currently at 549.45 metres, and that's more than a metre below its full supply level (of about 549.50 metres)," said Cheveldayoff. "Alameda Reservoir has been drawn down, and is currently at 560.8 metres, and its full supply level is 562 metres, so it's more than a metre below its full supply level as well.
"Both reservoirs have substantial capacity above the full supply level, which can be used for flood storage," said Cheveldayoff. "So it's a much more favourable situation now than it was in 2011."
The far southeast corner of the province, and a small pocket in southwest Saskatchewan, are the only regions in the southern half of Saskatchewan with a near-normal runoff forecast. Above normal runoff is forecasted for much of southern Saskatchewan.
"The Estevan-Weyburn area is above normal to well above normal, but it's not the extreme position that we may be seeing in the Moose Jaw to Indian Head area, or in the Rosthern-Shellbrook-Blaine Lake area in northern Saskatchewan," said Cheveldayoff.
A slow, steady melt would be beneficial, Cheveldayoff said. Temperatures will hopefully rise above zero in the near future, and he hopes there will be minimal rain or snow. A sudden and dramatic rise in temperatures would not help the runoff situation.
The WSA will continue to monitor the 2013 spring runoff conditions across Saskatchewan. If necessary, more snow surveys will be conducted to verify snow accumulation.
The next scheduled forecast will be in April.
The full March forecast is available online at www.wsask.ca.