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There are two locations where river water quality is monitored on the main stem of the South Saskatchewan River: (1) from the Bow/Oldman confluence to upstream of Medicine Hat; and, (2) Upstream of Medicine Hat to the provincial border.

Bow/Oldman confluence to upstream of Medicine Hat

Monitoring is performed by Alberta Environment (Station Number AB05AK0020) on the South Saskatchewan River upstream of the City of Medicine Hat. Alberta Environment’s Long-term River Network monitoring site is located at the most downstream extent of this reach.

The South Saskatchewan River flows through an incised channel set below the surrounding land. The river valley is little developed and is primarily used for grazing with some cultivated lands.

Upstream of Medicine Hat to provincial border

Monitoring is performed by Environment Canada (Station Number AL05AK0001) on the South Saskatchewan River at Highway 41 – (downstream) of the City of Medicine Hat, and near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Downstream, the river valley is relatively undeveloped, though shallow natural gas extraction is prominent in the area. Discharges to the river around Medicine Hat include the City’s municipal treated wastewater facility, cooling water returned from a power plant operated by the City, and the Canadian Fertilizer plant.

The Water survey of Canada offers near real time river levels, and historical river discharge levels for some of the watersheds in the SEAWA region.

For monitoring water quality in accordance with Schedule E of the Master Agreement on Apportionment that is overseen by the Prairie Provinces Water Board, Environment Canada uses a water quality monitoring site where Highway 41 crosses the river. Since 2003, more than 95 per cent of water quality parameter measurements have met the required objectives (PPWB, 2009).

Read more… about the Master Agreement on Apportionment.