The Water Security Agency (WSA) has provided a deeper look into the situation at Lake Diefenbaker. 

Southern Saskatchewan's largest water body has been looking a little light lately, as reduced inflows have had a standing impact this summer. 

A hot and dry summer for southern Alberta has meant the many streams and systems that feed into Lake Diefenbaker have brought less water than they normally would, resulting in the lower levels. 

Offering insight and expertise on the matter on behalf of the WSA is Patrick Boyle, a spokesperson for the Water Security Agency. 

"Largely it's determined by the amount of snow melt from the Rocky Mountains," said Boyle. "Also by if we get those rainfalls in the foothills in Alberta. This year persistent drought conditions in southern Alberta combined with a below average snowpack in the Rocky Mountains." 

Boyle delved deeper into the issues, confirming that Lake Diefenbaker has only been receiving 125 cubic metres of inflow. Normally, the lake would be getting closer to 440 cubic metres during the summer. 

He addressed the concerns of the water level impacting the lake's usability, confirming it would sustain for recreational usage, and as the province's main source of drinking water for 60 per cent of the population. 

"We've significantly pulled back on any of those outflows to keep the lake as high as possible," said Boyle. "We always have to keep some flow going through Lake Diefenbaker into the South Saskatchewan River."

Come the winter, Boyle says the ice surface will not be as low as the water level. As the winter goes on, the inflows will continue, offering a chance for recovery once cooler temperatures take over. 

"By the time we get ice cover on the lake, the inflows will bring the reservoir up to a comfortable level for operations in the wintertime," said Boyle. "It gets back into that cycle sort of every year, but every year is different."

For the time being, the limited outflow being implemented at the dam has meant slowing things down to 70 cubic metres of outflow. This is meeting the demand for water while allowing Lake Diefenbaker to maintain a safer water level. 

For now, the WSA will continue to monitor the water as the year continues. Boyle was unsure of how Lake Diefenbaker will look next year but assured they will be keeping an eye out for any big shifts. 


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