Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

April 2006

Milk River Basin - Water Supply Forecasts

As of April 1, 2006, below average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the March to September 2006 period in the Milk River basin (Table 3a). Current forecasts in the basin range from 79 to 83% of the median, 14 to 30% higher than volumes recorded during the March through September 2005 period. For the Milk River at Milk River, current forecasted values for the March to September 2006 period would rank 33rd lowest in 91 years of record (1912-2001).

Forecasts are similar to those published on March 1. Precipitation during March was near normal. Snowpack has been below to much below average in much of this low elevation basin, but future rainfall will readily translate into runoff, as soil conditions are wet after heavy summer and fall rain last year.

The first month of the forecast period has been completed, with March 2006 recorded natural runoff volumes ranging from 165 to 192 % of average, which is above average at Milk River and Eastern Crossing, and above to much above average at Western Crossing. Early melting of snowpack in this low elevation basin, in combination with near normal precipitation during March, is the reason for the high March runoff. 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 2006 forecast minus the recorded volume to date, is available in Table 3b.

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