Long beaches and short boat launches are defining the water level at Lake Diefenbaker.

Last week's article on water levels drew in controversy from those on the water's edge, after it was declared by the Water Security Agency that levels were operational.

Steven Wiens, whose family owns the Cactus Bloom campgrounds at Saskatchewan Landing, says that it's a tremendously different story when you come down and take a look.

"We haven't received a full inch of rain in one crack since, I think it was May 18 or 20 last year," recited a frustrated Wiens.

Indeed, if you went down to the water's edge, you would see that it is well below the norm.

Water being down low has effects outside of making it difficult to launch a boat, and is the reason why Wiens and other business owners are stressed about the lack of H20.

"We are under complete fire ban within our campground," announced Wiens. "I think we have an increased safety risk within the park when we do not have access to irrigation water because we have zero means to control fires."

Parks, camps, and farms all along the lakefront have agreements with the Water Security Agency to irrigate their land with water from the lake. But when Diefenbaker is this low, it becomes impossible to draw water once the source pipes are higher than the water level.

But this isn't anything new or particularly dire, as the owner of the Saskatchewan Landing Marina, Owen Stephenson, is fully aware as he is the defacto 'master of the water' out at Saskatchewan Landing as he keeps a careful eye on the water level that serves his business.

"The water levels are low right now and there's some concern that they may not come up and that they're actually lower than historical levels," acknowledged Stephenson. "Which is not quite true."

Stephenson pointed out how over the last eight to ten years, they have had similar water levels.

"Historically the water level annually goes up and down, sometimes quite severely, as much as 19 or 20 feet," educated Stephenson. "When you start from a deficit like we did last year as a result of the drought in western Canada, it's harder to get that back."

The snowpack from this last winter will probably see water levels rise to normal or near-normal levels sometime in mid to late June, but until then it's a little off to call the current levels anything but low.

"It's definitely below normal by the Water Security Agencies own data they collected at the station at Gardner Dam," confirmed Stephenson. "It shows that it's below the lower quartile, which is much lower than average, so I think to say that there's adequate or above-average levels is not true."

While neither Wiens nor Stephenson thinks that these water levels will affect people coming out for the weekend, they do think it's strange to claim that these waters are close to normal. There is also the concern that people who need to irrigate with the water will be irritated and negatively impacted when they go to use that equipment only to find that it's running dry.

For now, make sure to research if the boat launch you are planning on using can reach the current water level. Not all of them extend as far as others down the bank. And be sure to be aware of any ongoing fire bans, to help avoid the possibility of a fire getting out of control.