Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2003

North Saskatchewan River Basin - Water Supply Forecasts

Natural runoff volumes for the March to September 2003 period are forecast to be much-below-average for the North Saskatchewan River basin, ranging from 68 to 90 % of average (Table 6a). Much-below-average runoff volumes are expected due to generally below-average to much-below-average snowpack in the upper elevations of the basin and very dry soil conditions. Current forecasts are similar to those produced on March 1, up 0 to 4%, with the Lake Abraham forecast improving the most due to much-above-normal snowfall during March. Current forecasted values for the March to September period for the North Saskatchewan River at Edmonton would rank 7th lowest in 84-years of record (1912-95). The April 1 forecasts are lower (by 1 to 13%) than volumes recorded over the same time period last year and higher than those recorded in 2001 by 2 to 7%.

The first month of the forecast period has been completed, with March 2003 recorded runoff volumes ranging from 61 to 141% of average. Lake Abraham recorded much-above-average runoff in March, while Edmonton and the Brazeau Reservoir recorded runoff which was 67 and 61% of normal, respectively. The remaining volume forecast, which is the March to September 2003 forecast minus the recorded volume to date, is available in Table 6b.

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