The amount of water being released from two reservoirs in southern Saskatchewan has been cut as the level of water held in the reservoirs reached the goal requirements of the International Agreement governing the Souris River.
The release gates at Alameda reservoir near Oxbow, Sask., were closed last Friday. Alameda backs up the water of lengthy Moose Mountain Creek shortly before its junction with the Souris River. Rafferty reservoir, a much larger body of water located on the Souris River near Estevan, Sask., began reducing flows last week in anticipation of virtual closure by Jan. 30.
Previously the combined flows from the two reservoirs reached approximately 250 cubic feet per second. By the end of this month the flow will be reduced to less than 5 cfs which will come from Rafferty.
Ice fishermen gather outside their shelters on Lake Darling in this January 2012 photograph. Lake Darling is the final reservoir on the Souris River above Minot.
The outflow from Lake Darling Dam remained at 250 cubic feet per second Tuesday, but flows exiting that reservoir will likely be reduced as early as next week.
"Our plan is to hold steady at 250 through this week and then probably ramp down next week," said Tom Pabian, Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge manager.
The level of Lake Darling Tuesday was 1,596.02 feet. The International Souris River Agreement requires the reservoir to be lowered to 1,596 feet by Feb. 1. It is anticipated Lake Darling outflows will be reduced to no lower than 50 cfs, which will provide a continuous flow in the Souris River and slightly reduce the reservoir, should no unanticipated inflow occur.
Like Lake Darling, the level of the Saskatchewan reservoirs is at or very near the level stipulated by International Agreement. Alameda was at 1,840.58 feet Tuesday. The Feb. 1 target level of that impoundment is 1,840.64 feet. Rafferty stood at 1,802.94 feet Tuesday. The Feb. 1 target level there is 1,802.91 feet. The target levels are unchanged from what they were prior to the historic Souris River flood of 2011.