This week's Alberta Clipper is bringing more snow and cold temperatures to the Prairies again.

The snow creates several challenges but will be a welcome site in many areas of the province.

The majority of the snow is hitting the central and northern areas around Saskatoon, while a wider system later in the week is expected to bring more snow including to areas in the southern part of the province.

The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) preliminary Spring Runoff Report shows below-average snow conditions, in combination with the generally dry fall conditions, resulting in below-normal to well below-normal runoff across the province being expected.

It says despite dry conditions heading into freeze-up in fall 2023, major water supply reservoirs in southern Saskatchewan are mostly at or above normal levels.

WSA President and CEO Shawn Jaques says there are areas of concern in southern Saskatchewan with reservoirs at Avonlea and some in the southwest that are listed at below normal for this time of the year.

"Those are in the Big Stick Basin. So Downey Reservoir, Harris Reservoir, McDougal, and Junction, but those reservoirs also were below normal for the last couple of years as well."

The Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency, David Marit in Saskatchewan, we are fortunate to have a reservoir like Lake Diefenbaker.

"In anticipation of potential dry summer conditions, a conservative overwinter operating plan focused on retaining water supplies is being implemented for Lake Diefenbaker and other reservoirs across the province."

Jaques notes in the event of low mountain runoff they have been taking proactive measures to manage Lake Diefenbaker by keeping water levels at 3.5 metres higher for the winter to retain water supplies.

"With Lake Diefenbaker being at near normal levels for this time of year there will be enough water for drinking. We should have enough water for irrigation on the lake because that is a huge reservoir. There's a lot of water that is held in Diefenbaker."

Marit says our network of reservoirs and canals combined with our allocation system means we can store water and prioritize to ensure communities have reliable drinking water, while producers and industry receive equitable supply that does not negatively impact our environment.

The Water Security Agency is working with communities to identify their water supply needs and create drought preparedness plans. 

The WSA owns and manages 72 dams and over 230 kilometres of water conveyance channels across Saskatchewan for water management purposes. 

Long-range forecasts predict near-normal precipitation and warmer temperatures than usual across Saskatchewan from February to April, with the southern areas experiencing the highest temperature increases.

Environment Canada is calling for more snowfall later this week and into the weekend across most of the province including the drier areas in the southwest.

We'll have to see if it makes any difference, the Water Security Agency is expected to release its full runoff report in March.