The Saskatchewan–Nelson drainage region extends across 360,887 km2 of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. In 2011, the landscape was dominated by natural and semi-natural areas (88.1%), but there was a significant amount of agricultural land use across its south-western extent. Arable land accounted for 8.6% of the total area, followed by natural land for pasture (2.7%) and built-up area (0.6%).
Fertilizer was applied to 18,752 km2 in 2011, 61% of the region’s arable land.
The population was 216,586 in 2011, with a population density of 0.7 persons/km2.
Surface freshwater intake from irrigation, manufacturing, drinking water plants and mining was 70.8 million m3 in 2013.
The average annual water yield was 51.7 km3 over the period 1971 to 2013. The water yield per unit area was 0.14 m3/m2, compared to 0.35 m3/m2 at the Canada level. Data on the monthly yield and trends over time are not available. Evapotranspiration was 0.32 m3/m2, compared to 0.23 m3/m2 at the Canada level.
Sources of nitrogen and phosphorus residuals in the environment include fertilizer application and livestock and poultry production. On average residual soil nitrogen on agricultural land was 29.4 kg/ha in 2011 compared to 23.2 kg/ha at the Canada level.
Turbidity levels of source water for drinking water plants were the highest in the country at 20.9 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) in 2013.