The rainy and wet start to the season hasn't necessarily been what many have been looking for regarding Summer fun, but it has been good news for the Winkler Aquifer coming off the driest year since 1963.

Winkler Water Resource Manager Travis Duff noted the region's annual precipitation average is just over 500mm per year, and the city was well below that in 2023. He noted, without the rain this year, water conservation efforts would have had to been initiated.

"Last year was way too dry, much like the hot, dry summer of 2020, aquifer levels dropped, not quite as low as 2020, but they were low," he explained in an email to PembinaValleyOnline. "The Winkler Aquifer was at its lowest this year in March, less than 1/3 full, and has been steadily filling, and is almost ½ full now. This is where we like to see it."

The Winkler Aquifer depends on recharge during the spring freshet when the snow melts and the water flows over the aquifer. Duff noted two things impacted that this Spring.

"Last winter there wasn't much snow, so there wasn't much of a spring freshet," he said. "The freshet happened early, and the ground was still frozen. The water that did flow over the aquifer stayed on the surface, and didn’t soak into the aquifer."

The Winkler Aquifer depends on water flowing over its primary recharge area, including the Shannon and  Dead Horse Creeks, and the area in and around Winkler Bible Camp.

"Whether it be off the escarpment, overflowing the Lake Minnewasta dam, treated water from Morden’s treatment facility, or from the sky, water over the recharge area is a good thing," he stressed.

As far as the Winkler Aquifer is concerned, the rain has been a good thing, but Duff admitted it would be nice to see the rain in smaller amounts over longer periods of time, rather than the heavy downpours we've had so far this Summer.