About us and our history

About the JLWAB

Find out more about the Jackfish Lake Watershed Association Number 1. If you are looking for specific information that we didn’t provide, please contact us

JLWAB Est. in 1964

The Jackfish Lake Watershed Association Board ULWAB) was established on July 8, 1964. It was the first watershed association in Saskatchewan. The JLWAB is set up to manage, construct, operate and maintain projects to control and develop the water resources of Jackfish and Murray Lakes. The board is made up of l 2 members. It currently has members representing: 

– RM of Meota (7 of which 2 represent Hamlets)

– Village of Meota

– Resort Village of Metinota

– Resort Village of Cochin Resort

– Village of Aquadeo

– City of North Battleford

The JLWAB is accountable to and regulated by Water Security Agency (WSA). WSA regulates the use of water in Saskatchewan under The Watershed Associations Act. 

WSA has several roles in the management of Jackfish and Murray Lakes:

  • Overall regulation and licensing of water related projects.
  • To monitor lake levels and streamflows.
  • To provide technical and administrative assistance to the JLWAB

Covering The jackfish river drainage basin

Jackfish River basin represents a total area of approximately 3730 sq km (1440 sq miles) of which 3320 sq km (1280 sq miles) drains into Jackfish and Murray Lakes. The Jackfish River basin flows into the North Saskatchewan River just upstream of North Battleford and forms part of the larger North Sask River Basin (NSRBC). Information on the NSRB may be found at http://www.nsrbc.ca/ 

The surface area of Jackfish and Murray Lakes combined is approximately 9730 hectares (24,050 Acres). Download our brochure to find out more.

The Controversial gate

Jackfish and Murray Lakes water levels have been regulated since 1932 by a control structure at the south end of Jackfish Lake. The Jackfish Lake Watershed Association Board ULWAB) constructed the present structure in 1966. The control structure and related works were originally licensed under The Water Rights Act, now the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority Act 2005. The License allows the JLWAB to maintain a water level of 1737.0 feet (529.44m). 

The role of the JLWAB includes ensuring it operates the control structure within the conditions of the licence, maintaining the works in good operating condition and dealing with issues that may impact its being able to receive full benefit from the rights obtained from its licence. The management recognizes and tries to balance the needs of various stakeholders as well as environmental impacts. 


The JLWAB is responsible for opening the gates of the control structure when water level rises higher than the licensed level of 1737.0 feet (529.44 m). The licence requires the JLWAB to supply water to landowners along Jackfish River downstream from the control structure. The JLWAB is obligated under common law to supply water to its riparian landowners.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed can be defined as the area of land that drains water into a creek system. Watershed boundaries are outlined geographically by the points of highest elevation. 

Watersheds do not usually share boundaries with political entities such as cities, towns, RMs or provinces, but may contain several communities and land uses and will most certainly contain many different water uses and competing interests. Watersheds are changing, dynamic systems that form part of our community. Without watersheds and the ecosystems they support our communities would look very different.

For information on the North Saskatchewan 

Ducks Unlimited

In 1988 the JLWAB entered into an agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to supply up to l 000 cubic decametres (810 Acre Feet) per year from the lake to replenish water in its marsh. The amount is approximately the same volume of water that had previously been released to supply the downstream landowners. The amount supplied to DUC could remove approximately 0.4 inches of water from Jackfish and Murray Lakes. 

Under the agreement, if DUC takes water to replenish the marsh, it is responsible for releasing the water to the downstream landowners. Since DUC constructed the marsh project in 1990, the release to the Marsh by the JFLWAB averaged 52 5 cubic decameters (42 5 Ac.Ft.) per year or approximately 0.2 inches of water off the lakes. The average release to the DUC marsh is lower than the agreed amount because, during past periods when the lakes were low, DUC voluntarily gave up all or a portion of its water allotment. 

For more information on Ducks Unlimited, visit the Ducks Unlimited website

Nature… The Bad (And Good) Guy…

The main player in determining water levels is nature itself. A water balance for the lakes reveals on an average year, runoff contributes 1 3 inches, precipitation contributes 1 5 inches, groundwater contributes as much as 8 inches and summer inflows contribute 1 inch. On the other side of the equation, using an annual average, evaporation removes 32 inches, and all other uses remove less than one inch of surface water per year. 

To view real time Jackfish Lake levels at any time, visit www.wsask.ca