Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2005

Milk River Basin - Water Supply Forecasts

As of April 1, 2005, below to much below average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the March to September 2005 period in the Milk River basin (Table 2). Current forecasts in the basin range from 58 to 64% of the median, 21 to 30% higher than volumes recorded during the March through September 2004 period. For the Milk River at Milk River, current forecasted values for the March to September 2005 period would rank 25th lowest in 91 years of record (1912-2001). The April forecasts are similar to last month's except at Eastern Crossing which is 3% lower.

As a result of snowpack in the area being severely depleted in January, and below to much below average precipitation during March, much of which was snowfall, natural runoff volumes recorded during March 2005 were much below average, ranging from 33 to 36% of average. Recorded volume data is preliminary, due to ice effects, and is subject to change. March volumes typically comprise a small portion of the March to September total. The remaining volume forecast, which is the March to September 2005 forecast minus the recorded volume to date, is available in Table 2b. Future precipitation can still heavily influence the runoff forecasts. If minimal precipitation occurs during the coming months, near record low volumes are possible, but above normal precipitation could result in below average to average runoff.

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