The Riverhurst Ferry, which transports vehicles across the South Saskatchewan River northwest of Moose Jaw, has been beached indefinitely due to low water levels, according to the Ministry of Highways, which operates the vessel. The culprit is climate change.
However, the water levels are too low for it to start up. Lake Diefenbaker levels are about a metre and a half below normal for this time of year. Lake Diefenbaker is a man-made lake located north of the Riverhurst Ferry and fed by the South Saskatchewan River. The government has previously recorded low levels, but none of the ferry crews are aware of a time when they were unable to begin operations due to shallow water.
The Riverhurst Ferry is a cable ferry located in Saskatchewan, Canada. The ferry connects Riverhurst on the east bank to Lucky Lake on the west bank of Lake Diefenbaker. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure operates the ferry, which travels approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi). The ferry is toll-free and operates 24 hours a day. During the day, an hourly crossing departs from the east bank on the hour and from the west bank on the half-hour. The ferry runs on demand at night. The ferry carries about 30,000 vehicles a year. During the ice-free season, the ferry operates; during the winter, the provincial government constructs and maintains an ice road across the lake.
With a length of 35.6 metres (117 feet), a width of 14 metres (46 feet), and a load limit of 90.7 tons, the Riverhurst Ferry is Saskatchewan’s largest ferry (89.3 long tons; 100.0 short tons). On each crossing, it can carry a maximum of fifteen cars. It uses a computer-controlled engine to power a central drive cable. Two guide cables are mounted one foot from the left and right sides, with a third cable running underneath the hull.
The Riverhurst Ferry was renovated in 2003, with a new drive system, control tower, and passenger areas that included restrooms and a small lounge. Following the renovations, the ferry experienced technical difficulties with the drive system. The ferry frequently broke down, making it unreliable for years afterward. The ferry hopefully returns to operating normally.