New Hue North Of Sask Caused By Dam Release, Algae And Drought

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North Saskatchewan River has picked up an unusual aquamarine hue, a change from its previous chocolate milk shade.

The change has revealed darting fish, hidden sandbars, and even submerged carts. A lot of questions have come up as well from residents of Edmonton who want to know what the color change means.

The river has its source at the Saskatchewan Glacier, Columbia Icefields, flows via central Saskatchewan, and often, as has been the case for a long time now, it is murky brown when it gets to Edmonton in the Summer.

In the past few days, the water has taken on the hue of Glacial Lakes in Alberta, which is blamed on a dry, hot weather coupled with recently undertaken maintenance at a major dam.

Dry conditions in the past few days have caused a reduction in the volume of water flowing in the river, which isn’t stirring sediment, this is according to Mark Loewen, Professor of Water Resource Engineering, University of Alberta.

Maintenance works at the Bighorn Dam, 330 km to the southwest of Edmonton, which involved released of flow from the Lake Abraham Reservoir, also played a part in causing the hue, Epcor said.

A parched river basin and absence of sediment are perfect conditions for growth of algae, green in this case is the color of algae, Rolfe Vinebrooke of University of Alberta says.

However, Loewen noted that the Water is likely to regain its previous hue next summer, something that has given the river a bad reputation.

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