WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government said lower than normal precipitation this past winter means a lower risk for flooding in the province is most likely.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said on Tuesday during a news conference that precipitation levels in southern Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan are down 20 per cent of normal precipitation of the past 40 years, and some parts of southwestern Manitoba are at record-low precipitation levels.

“Satellite images and model simulations show most of the snow in southern and central basins have already melted,” Schuler said, adding the current prediction is for “near-normal” precipitation for April, May and June.

Schuler added snow melt is complete for the southern watershed basins, and spring run-off is almost finished. Northern Manitoba spring run-off is expected to be finished by April.

“The risk for major spring flooding is low for this season in Manitoba,” Schuler said.

With the chance of any major spring flooding so low, Schuler said the province will not be using the Red River Floodway, noting the Red River has already reached peak levels.

Even though the province is dryer than normal, Schuler said there are currently no drought impacts.

"Our government is closely monitoring conditions and increasing its drought readiness."

He said droughts are hard to predict because a late snow storm or rainfall can change conditions.

Schuler added so far things are looking okay for farmers even though predictions show a dry summer.

"There's probably still enough moisture to get crops in the ground. There would not be enough moisture to sustain those crops for any lengthy period of time, without more moisture coming down."

He added the forecast in Canada and the United States predict a normal amount of precipitation, noting that crops don't need an excessive amount of water, but they do need some.