Buffalo Pound Lake NAM-57

Riparian Nation(s) Canada
Surface Area 30 km2 Mean Depth 3 m Volume 0.08 km3
Shoreline 72.5 km Catchment Area 3310 km2 Residence Time 1.5 yr
Frozen Period Nov-Apr Mixing Type Polymictic Morphogenesis/Dam
Related Info/Site


Buffalo Pound Lake is a small prairie lake located near the headwaters of the Qu'Appelle River in south central Saskatchewan. The drainage basin of the lake is located in the heart of the Canadian plain and is typically a flat to gently undulating treeless plain which has been cultivated chiefly for cereal grain production. The lake provides drinking water for the cities of Moose Jaw and Regina and is an important recreational resource, supporting a number of cottage developments, a provincial park and a sport fishery.

Buffalo Pound Lake is naturally eutrophic due to the input from nutrient rich soils in the basin. The eutrophic state was aggravated by increased erosion following the breaking of the natural prairie during the early 1900's. The small size of the drainage basin and low precipitation combined with high evaporation caused the natural lake levels to vary widely. These wide fluctuations were reduced by regulation of the outflow in 1949. The 1967 initiation of water diversion from Lake Diefenbaker on the South Saskatchewan River all but eliminated the fluctuation in lake level and also provides for a greatly increased flushing rate with high quality water from the South Saskatchewan River system. The water diversion represents more than 90% of the inflow to Buffalo Pound Lake in most years. Despite the diversion of high quality water into Buffalo Pound Lake and controlling lake levels, the lake remains eutrophic. Major algal blooms and heavy growths of macrophytes occur every summer reducing the recreational potential of the lake and adding greatly to the cost of treating drinking water (Q).