Research in the Saskatchewan River Basin



Climate Change Impacts on Boundary and Transboundary Water Management
The possibility of reduced volumes of water in the Saskatchewan River under climate change and the potential for increased pressure on water allocation systems within and among the prairie provinces led a study of perceptions of fairness in water allocation in the basin. The study was conducted by researchers from a water management consulting firm in Saskatoon and the Department of Geography at the University of Western Ontario.


Download it here:


Final Report


Annex A: Summary of Agreements


Annex B: Climate Change Scenarios


Annex C: Perceptions and Fairness

The Saskatchewan Fishery: History and Current Status

Basin Wide Survey of Residents


In 1994 PFSRB commissioned a survey to assess perceptions of water and water management in the Saskatchewan River Basin. Prairie Research Associates of Winnipeg conducted a survey of basin residents and experts regarding knowledge, use of, and concerns about the river basin. The survey had two major components: a random telephone survey of 550 Saskatchewan River Basin residents and a detailed interview with 20 representatives of organizations with an interest in water management issues. The survey results indicate the need to develop within people a better understanding of water management issues, and how they, as individuals, impact on the river basin and ecosystem.

(Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view these files, download it HERE.)


Basin Fact Sheets


The Fact Sheets are available as Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF's can be viewed using Adobe's Acrobat Reader software. If you do not have this plug-in or viewer installed, click here to go to Adobe's download site.



The Saskatchewan River Basin's ecological diversity, and importance in Canadian history, are almost as broad as the basin itself.


The word Saskatchewan is derived from the Cree word Kisikatchewan, meaning swift current. The Basin, one of the most diverse in North America, covers 420,000 square kilometres (168,000 square miles), encompasses three provinces and one state, and includes some of the longest rivers in Canada. The Saskatchewan River itself is Canada's fourth longest.


More than three million people depend on the rivers, streams, wells and marshes of the Basin - and share a strong commitment to preserving and even improving the quality of that water. For a look at some of the projects under way, click on the image to download a PDF version of an Introduction and Overview of the Saskatchewan River Basin.



Scientists often think of water in terms of how it's used. Did you just get a cold drink from your kitchen tap? Are you watering your front lawn or flooding an ice rink in the backyard? Is that water being pumped from a river and sprayed over a field to help crops grow? Or is it being treated and being returned to the river after running through a factory or city sewage system?


Making sure that the right amount of water is available when and where it's needed is called water management. It's a complex science, a question of balancing everyone's needs today against what they'll probably need tomorrow. Everyone has to be aware, everyone has to be involved - and everyone has to be committed to help ensure we have all the clean water we need.


For a look at some of the ways we use water in the Basin, click on the image to download a PDF version of Water Management in the Saskatchewan River Basin.


Think of towering cattails, lily pads and leaping frogs, a pair of ducks skimming across the surface of a pond before splashing to touchdown. This is how the wetlands of the Saskatchewan River Basin look and sound.


Different kinds of wetlands are scattered throughout the Saskatchewan River Basin, but all share a few things in common: they provide homes to a variety of wildlife. They guard against floods, buffer shorelines against erosion and purify water by acting as filters. And though they're often considered "waste space" by humans, they're a key part of the environment - and must be preserved. For a look at life in the wetlands, click on the image to download a PDF version of Wetlands and Waterfowl in the Saskatchewan River Basin.



A torrent of rain thunders from the sky, sliding off trees and homes, collecting in puddles on your lawn. A late-season snowstorm dumps a white blanket across the landscape - and you have to dig out the snow shovel again. A farmer's field glistens and glitters as sunlight catches pools of water from the spring runoff. How clean is all that water? Can we use it to cook our food? Should we treat it first? Is it OK for our pets to drink?


It's all a question of water quality - and everything we do has an influence on water throughout the Saskatchewan River Basin. Some things we do have an obvious effect - if we dump untreated sewage into a river, it won't be as safe for towns downstream to use as drinking water. Some things we do aren't as obvious - what effect do cattle have when they spend much of the winter on a frozen lake or stream?


For a look at some of the issues affecting water quality in the Basin, click on the image to download a PDF version of Water Quality in the Saskatchewan River Basin.



Flick a light switch, plug in a lawn mower or turn on an oven in the Saskatchewan River Basin and chances are that the river is giving you the power you need.


Hydroelectric power - electricity created by turbines driven by water - is a key product of the Basin. Nineteen dams produce hydroelectricity, fuelling industry, lighting streets, powering homes.

Water Research Priorities

A compilation of responses to a survey distributed in November 1999 to determine regional water issues and research needs.
Download it by clicking HERE
(Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view these files, download it HERE.)

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