It is considered to be a vital lifeline that connects the east and west shores of the South Saskatchewan River. It connects the two sides of Highway 42, but thanks to low water levels on the river, the ferry is in the dock.
The Water Security Agency has stated the reason for the low levels on the river, which feeds Lake Diefenbaker, are three-fold: a lack of precipitation in the area, evaporation due to the warm temperatures, and a slow melt in the Rocky Mountains.
The South Saskatchewan River originates at the confluence of the Bow and Oldman rivers in Alberta, near Taber, and those two rivers are fed by the melt from the snowpack in the Rocky Mountains. As conditions there have been cooler than normal, it means there has been less water coming from the source of the river.
With the ferry out of service, people are having to navigate further to get around the river. This includes travelling to Highway 19 past Elbow, and Highways 44 and 45.
This is the first time the ferry has had a late start to the season since it first opened in 1967.