by Steven Wilson, for www.discoverweyburn.com
After a year of little rain, below average snowfall and spring run-off, water levels are low at Nickle Lake reservoir, which is raising some concern about the water supply for Weyburn.
The reservoir on the Souris River is the source of water for the City of Weyburn, and surrounding communities.
Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy is concerned about the lack of precipitation, suggesting that residents do their part to conserve water.
“We’re not at a critical stage yet, but if the rain doesn’t come this summer, things could be getting to a critical stage,” he explained.
Roy added he understands those with gardens will tend to use a bit of water, but residents should follow recommendations from the city about lawn watering to help to reduce the amount of water used in those situations.
The idea of water conservation was introduced by the previous city council in 2016 and was codified in a bylaw. The bylaw, as written, would allow for the act to be enforced on an as-needed basis each year. One of the first acts of the current council after the election in October of 2016 was to repeal the bylaw.
Roy said putting a new bylaw on the table isn’t necessarily out of the question, but is asking residents to make an effort voluntarily now. The bylaw itself will more than likely be looked at in the near future.
Roy recommends residents follow the water conservation tips found online.
He also acknowledged water conservation isn’t a long-term solution.
“Water conservation is only a band-aid solution; we have to look for and search out – and that’s what council will be doing – for a long-range solution, be it wells, or trenching in, or other long-range solutions until the rains come back and the snows come back,” Roy stated.
In the past 12 months, Weyburn has recorded 171.9 mm of precipitation, either in the form of snow or rain. The average for a year is 423.9 mm. The last time the city saw a month of rain or snowfall which approached the average was June of last year when 56.6 mm of rain fell.