State of the Basin Report

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 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.

First Nation Initiative

An addition to the State of the Basin Report was compiled and produced in 2014, contained in this report for the purpose of presenting a broad overview of First Nation issues, concerns and perspectives on water. This additional document is available for download below.

Access the Reports Below

State of the Basin Report – First Nations Initiative

Download State of the Basin Report

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