‘It is getting grim’: Record-low precipitation in Manitoba has led to very dry soil

Manitoba’s infrastructure minister says it is getting grim for agriculture in the province due to record-low precipitation which is leading to very dry soil.

Record-low precipitation in Manitoba since September 2020 has led to soil moisture that range from well-below normal to record dry in some places.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler made the announcement on Thursday, noting most of the southern watershed, which consists of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota and Ontario, has had less than five per cent of normal rainfall.

The province notes the flows and water levels are below normal to well-below normal in most of the southern and central Manitoba rivers and lakes. These dry conditions are expected to continue until fall of 2021.

Schuler said if conditions persist and strain continues in the rivers and reservoir water levels, the province’s agriculture minister can declare a serious water shortage under the water protection act.

“We still believe that we have enough reservoir water, however it is getting grim in so far as agriculture because we started out so dry that even a moderate amount of rain simply gets absorbed and it produces no flow in any of our water ways,” Schuler said.

Manitoba is operating its water control structures to help deal with the low water levels, including the Fairford Water Control Structure, the Shellmouth Dam and the Portage Reservoir.

– This is a developing story. More details to come.


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