The results of our 2017 monitoring project suggested that a site north of Waldeck had the most degraded water quality of all ten sites sampled that year. At this site, almost every water quality parameter exceeded guidelines for all uses of water in the watershed. When looking at the results, the SCCWS found a number of possibilities for this degradation of water quality. These include crop and livestock production, the draining of water from the Waldeck Irrigation Project into the creek, effluent leaching from the town of Waldeck lagoon and increased concentrations of chemicals and minerals due to increased Total Suspended Solids in the water.
To attempt to answer this question, the SCCWS received funding from the Green Farms Internship Program of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Water Samples were taken at a site to the north east of Swift Current, just outside of city limits that was sampled in 2017 and the site north of Waldeck. For this project two additional sites between these sites were also sampled, one upstream of the Waldeck sewage lagoon and one downstream. Samples were taken four times during the summer of 2018 and tested for the same parameters as the 2017 monitoring project. In addition to testing for water quality, Riparian Health Assessments were completed to assess the ability of that part of the creek to perform its riparian functions. The ability or inability for an area of the creek to perform these functions has a direct impact on water quality and watershed health.
In general, the SCCWS found that water quality parameters were better in 2018 than in 2017 due to increased flows in the creek reducing concentrations of chemicals and minerals and Total Suspended Solids. Water quality was still the most degraded at the site north of Waldeck compared to the other 3 sites. This site also scored the lowest on the Riparian Health Assessment, showing the link between riparian health and water quality. However the results of the project did not provide any answers as to how water quality degrades as we move along the creek to this site. The results did show that water quality was not impacted by the Waldeck sewage lagoon in any way and there was no leaching from it into the creek.
As the SCCWS continues to perform monitoring projects, we will continue to ascertain the reason behind the reduced water quality at this site. The SCCWS is also looking to improve water quality in this area. To learn more about this project, please click on the link to read the report.
This project was partially funded by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Green Farms Internship program and sponsorship of Whitecap Resources to help pay for water sample testing.
Report: IMPROVING WATER QUALITY BY IMPROVING WATERSHED HEALTH