Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2002

Plains Runoff Outlook

Spring runoff has not began in many areas due to the below-normal temperatures in March. As of April 1, 2002, snowpack on Alberta's plains area is much-below-average to below-average east of a line from Lethbridge to Edmonton to High Level. As a result of the low snowpack and the extreme soil moisture deficits, the spring runoff forecast is for below-normal to much-below-normal runoff in these areas (Figure 1). Areas west of this line have average to above-average snowpack but with the extreme soil moisture deficits, below-normal to normal spring runoff is forecast for these areas. The only area in the province that is forecast for above-normal runoff is an area north of Grande Prairie. This area had the best soil moisture conditions in the fall and has much-above-average snowpack for this time of the year. As a result, above-normal spring runoff is forecast for this area.

With the late spring, there exists a chance that snowmelt could occur very quickly. Longer days and more intense solar radiation could help generate runoff in areas where there is considerable snowpack. Check the Forecaster's Comments on the department website throughout the month for the most current conditions.

Snow courses were conducted at many locations throughout the province at the end of March and in early April. The snow course information is ranked by year for all sites and can be obtained by clicking in the area on the Plains Runoff Map to obtain the data for that particular region.

For technical enquires about this web page please contact Alberta Environment - Environmental Management Water Management Operations Branch at AENV-WebWS@gov.ab.ca