From the Mountains to the Sea

The State of the Saskatchewan River Basin


Originating on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and Montana, the Saskatchewan River Basin extends from the continental divide through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to a vast inland sea – Lake Winnipeg, the eleventh largest freshwater lake in the world. The name Saskatchewan is taken from the Cree Indian word, kisiskâciwanisîpiy, meaning ‘swift-flowing river’. Although it is part of the larger Saskatchewan-Nelson system, which flows into Hudson Bay, the Saskatchewan River system itself is the fourth longest in North America. The river travels about 1940 kilometres from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Winnipeg. It drains a surface area of some 405,864 square kilometres – almost the size of France.





This report is aimed at satisfying, at least in part, the goal that persons who are making decisions and recommendations concerning the waters and associated resources within the Saskatchewan River Basin do so with an understanding of and an appreciation for the entire basin. One of the objectives is to examine the overall condition of the basin by assembling existing information so that it can be reviewed by groups throughout the basin. This will contribute to integrated water resources management in the basin.

The report pays particular attention to hydrology, water use, water quality, and biodiversity aspects of the basin. The report uses currently available data and information. No new data were obtained for this report although some of the interpretations of existing data are new. To the extent possible, information from all basin jurisdictions is brought to a common language and terminology.

Water management in the Saskatchewan River Basin is complex. To assist a better understanding of the agencies and organizations having some responsibility for water management, the report identifies and describes water-related institutional arrangements in the basin.


 Downloadable Documents


Summary Document


Large Basin Map (note - large file, may take a while to download. approx 36MB)


State of the Basin Report (Full Report)

     Table of Contents

     Chapter 1 - Introduction

     Chapter 2 - Basin Overview

     Chapter 3 - Institutional Arrangements

     Chapter 4 - The Water Towers

     Chapter 5 - North Saskatchewan River

     Chapter 6 - Battle River

     Chapater 7 - Red Deer River

     Chapter 8 - Bow & Oldman River

     Chapter 9 - South Saskatchewan River

     Chapter 10 - Saskatchewan River

     Chapter 11 - Lake Winnipeg

     Chapter 12 - Basin Wide Vulnerabilities

     Glossary, Acknowlegements and List of Abbreviations







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