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North Saskatchewan River Basin


Watershed Area:
55,000 km2
Population (2001):
Population Density:
41 / km2
Avg. Annual Discharge:
7,277,000 dam3
Total Allocation:
1,996,927 dam3

The North Saskatchewan River Basin begins in the icefields of Banff and Jasper National Parks and flows in a generally eastward direction to Saskatchewan. The North Saskatchewan River Basin is part of the larger Nelson River system, which eventually drains eventually into Hudson Bay.

The basin is comprised of several sub-basins: Vermillion, Red Water, Sturgeon, Clear Water, Ram River, Brazeau, Blackstone, Nordegg, Baptiste, Battle. The Battle River begins in Alberta and joins with the North Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan. There are three major lakes in the basin: Beaverhill, Wabamun, and Lac Ste Anne.

Watershed Facts

  • The basin is home to Alberta's capital city, Edmonton.
  • There are two large dams located in the basin. The Big Horn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River creates Lake Abraham. The Brazeau Reservoir is created by the Brazeau Dam, located on the Brazeau River.
  • The industrial sector includes water allocations for cooling, chemical plants, fertilizer plants, manufacturing, and mining other than coal. There is also a small amount of water licensed to coal mining, forestry, hydroelectric, and other industrial activities.
  • About 95 percent of the allocations are for cooling purposes in thermal power generation or cooling such as air conditioning (1,583,627 dam3).