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South Saskatchewan River
River
The University Bridge over the South Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta,  Saskatchewan
Source confluence Oldman and Bow Rivers
 - location Taber, Alberta
 - elevation 700 m (2,297 ft)
 - coordinates 49°56′0″N 111°41′30″W / 49.933333°N 111.69167°W / 49.933333; -111.69167
Mouth Saskatchewan River
 - location Saskatchewan River Forks, Saskatchewan
 - elevation 380 m (1,247 ft)
 - coordinates 53°14′6″N 105°4′58″W / 53.235°N 105.08278°W / 53.235; -105.08278
Length 1,392 km (865 mi)
Basin 146,100 km2 (56,410 sq mi)
Discharge
 - average 280 m3/s (9,888 cu ft/s)
The Saskatchewan River drainage basin

The South Saskatchewan River (French: rivière Saskatchewan Sud) is a major river in Canada that flows through the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

For the first half of the 20th century, the South Saskatchewan would completely freeze over during winter, creating spectacular ice breaks and dangerous conditions in Saskatoon, Medicine Hat and elsewhere. At least one bridge in Saskatoon was destroyed by ice carried by the river. The construction of the Gardiner Dam in the 1960s, however, lessened the power of the river and by the 1980s many permanent sandbars had formed due to the lowering of the level of the river.

From the headwaters of the Bow River, the South Saskatchewan flows for 1,392 kilometers (865 mi). At its mouth at Saskatchewan River Forks, it has an average discharge of 280 m³/s, and has a watershed of 146,100 km², 1,800 of which are in Montana in the USA, and 144,300 km² in Alberta and Saskatchewan. [1]

Contents

Course

The river originates at the confluence of the Bow and Oldman Rivers near Grassy Lake, Alberta. The waters of these two rivers, in turn, originate from glaciers in the Rocky Mountains near the British Columbia border.[2] The Red Deer River is a major tributary of the South Saskatchewan merging 16 kilometers (10 mi) east of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. The Lake Diefenbaker reservoir was created with the construction of the Gardiner and Qu'Appelle River dams in Saskatchewan. Water from the South Saskatchewan flowing through the dams provides much of the electricity in the province.

Downstream from the dam the river flows north through Saskatoon and joins the North Saskatchewan River east of Prince Albert at the Saskatchewan River Forks — thus forming the Saskatchewan River. For approximately 60 km near Saskatoon, the Meewasin Valley Authority is responsible for conservation of the river environment. Numerous lakes in the Saskatoon area were formed by oxbows of the South Saskatchewan River, most notably Moon Lake and Pike Lake.[2]

A study which analysed the river flow on ten major Canadian rivers has reported that the South Saskatchewan River is the most at risk. Dams producing Hydroelectricity, climate change, agricultural, urban infrastructure water use have all combined to reduce the South Saskatchewan River 70%. Developers and governments have been cautioned to protect and restore the river with sustainable projects and limit water diversion.[3] Dickson Dam regulates water supply downstream on the Red Deer River, Bassano Dam and 11 other dams divert water on the Bow River and in the Bow River basin, The Oldman River Dam, and Waterton-St. Mary Headworks System manage water flow downstream of the Oldman River.[4] The proposed Meridian dam 30 kilometers (19 mi) west of Leader and 95 kilometers (59 mi) north east of Medicine Hat was cancelled due to project costs outweighing the irrigation benefits.[5][6]

Tributaries

Fish species

Fish species include walleye, sauger, yellow perch, northern pike, lake trout, rainbow trout, atlantic salmon, goldeye, lake whitefish, cisco, lake sturgeon, burbot, longnose sucker, white sucker and shorthead redhorse.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ Atlas of Canada. "Rivers in Canada". http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/learningresources/facts/rivers.html. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
    (Webpage shows that the South Saskatchewan River has a much higher flow than the Saskatchewan River. But since the South is a tributary of the Saskatchewan River, it must be assumed that the data is reversed.)
  2. ^ a b "Water.ca - The Water Chronicles". South Saskatchewan River Basin. October 15, 2009. http://www.water.ca/sat-110908.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  3. ^ De Sousa, Mike (October 15, 2009). "South Sask River threatened". CanWest News Service. Calgary Herald. http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=3db8b27b-4c1b-4199-b673-579a0e2bbc56. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  4. ^ "South Saskatchewan River Basin Water Management Plan" (pdf). Alberta Environmnet. Government of Alberta. January 2004. http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=7&ved=0CBwQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww3.gov.ab.ca%2Fenv%2Fwater%2Fregions%2Fssrb%2Fpdf_phase2%2FSSRB%2520Dams%2520information%2520sheet.pdf&ei=aEXXSo60DoesMYOJ6cgI&usg=AFQjCNFttteBVvTj7ZDhqVy-_1pbsodtVQ. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Sask Water to study Meridian Dam Proposal". News Releases. Government of Saskatchewa. May 18, 2001. http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=85d670c5-0b58-40e9-8f02-cd03c1f622c9. Retrieved may 18, 2001. 
  6. ^ "Alberta, Saskatchewan shelve plans for Meridian Dam". CBC News. March 11, 2002. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2002/03/11/meridian_dam020311.html. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  7. ^ Government of Saskatchewan. Fish Species of Saskatchewan

External links

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