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Churchill River

Churchill River
Canadian Plains Research Center Mapping Division
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(55°52’N, 102°02’W; map sheet 63 M/16). The Churchill River drains most of north-central Saskatchewan into Manitoba and on into Hudson Bay via the Nelson River. The Churchill Basin is estimated to be 20% covered by water—over double that of typical drainage basins in southern Saskatchewan. The Churchill River itself is generally made up of a series of lakes of various sizes, interconnected by numerous series of rapids. Its headwaters are in the interior plains of east-central Alberta and in the Boreal Plains and Boreal Shield of west-central Saskatchewan. The vast majority of the flow originates as snowmelt in May, reaches a maximum in July, and gradually recedes to a relatively constant flow from December to April. The significant lake storage in the basin serves to attenuate flows, generally resulting in flow throughout the entire year. A significant portion of flow in the Churchill River at the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border comes from the Reindeer River, which drains Wollaston and Reindeer lakes. Flow in the Reindeer River is controlled by the Whitesand Dam, located at the outlet of Reindeer Lake. The only other significant dam is Island Falls Dam on the Churchill River near Sandy Bay; but it has a relatively small reservoir storage capacity, and as a result has only a minor impact on the flow in the Churchill River at the border. The mean annual flow volume for the Churchill River near Sandy Bay is 21,620,000 dam3.

Martin Grajczyk

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University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
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