The water levels at Nickle Lake continue to be a concern of the City of Weyburn, and the Water Security Agency. The agency is the provincial body which oversees everything from potable water in communities to flooding and spring runoff.
The levels at Nickle Lake are roughly one meter below where they normally are and are in danger of going down even further. To help keep the levels above a critical stage, water restrictions were recently put into place in Weyburn by City Council.
Patrick Boyle is with the Water Security Agency. He said the steps taken by the city are the best course of action for right now, but this doesn’t mean alternatives shouldn’t be looked at.
“We have identified to the city with some potential groundwater wells which may add some additional supply,” Boyle explained. In the past, wells have been drilled in the area, although the last time many recall they were used was in the 1980’s.
There have been other options floated by Weyburn City Council, including the building of a pipeline to pull water from the Rafferty Reservoir near Estevan, and the drilling of a new intake pipe in Nickle Lake, below the critical point. Boyle said those could be options in the future, but at this point, the feasibility is the key factor.
The situation in Weyburn, along with some critical incidents along the Saskatchewan River in the past few years, are reminding residents of the importance of water, and how communities should have a backup plan for water.
“The city of Weyburn is doing some good work in trying to manage that situation with some conservation efforts,” Boyle added. “It starts that conversation down, and looking at some options for a backup supply.”
Weyburn has been lucky in terms of precipitation in recent days. The city has received seven millimetres over two days. The rain, however, has been mostly absorbed by the ground, which hasn’t provided much relief for the strained levels at Nickle Lake.