Water Supply Outlook August 2014

Updated: August 07, 2014

Mountain runoff forecasts (natural volumes for March to September 2014)

Milk River basin Oldman River basin Bow River basin
  • Above average to much above average, with the exception of Spray River which is below average, for the March to September 2014 period
  • Average to above average for August to September
  • March-July recorded volumes are below average for Spray River, average for Bow River at Banff, above average for Lake Minnewanka/Kananaskis, and much above average for Bow at Calgary, Elbow, and Highwood Rivers.
Red Deer River basin North Saskatchewan River basin

Precipitation can have a major impact on water supply between now and the end of September. The forecasts above assume that precipitation over the remainder of the winter period and through the summer will be normal. The range of possible precipitation scenarios is large however, and as a result, probable range forecasts and a minimal precipitation forecast of natural runoff volume are also provided for each individual basin. Since more information becomes known over time, forecast ranges will narrow. Streamflow volume forecasts are updated monthly from February to May, and again in July.

Check our Forecaster's Comments throughout the month for updated information regarding runoff conditions.

Mountain snowpack (issued in December to June each year)

Plains Spring Snowmelt Runoff Forecasts (issued in March and April each year)

Plains Snowpack (issued in March and April each year; Cypress Hills mid to late January and February)


Contoured maps of precipitation amounts and as a percent of normal for the past month and for current and recent seasons are available here. Maps of precipitation amounts for the most recent day, week and month to date are available here.

Soil Moisture

Alberta Agriculture models soil moisture for non-mountainous, agricultural areas of Alberta. Modelled soil moisture compared to average as of July 29, 2014 is available here.

Long Lead Precipitation Outlooks

Environment Canada (issued on July 31, 2014): Normal precipitation in Alberta for July to September 2014.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (issued on July 17, 2014): Normal precipitation in Alberta for July to September 2014.

Climate indicators : NOAA reported on July 10, 2014 that the chance of El Niño is about 70% during the Northern Hemisphere summer and is close to 80% during the fall and early winter.

Note that forecasting weather for such a long time period into the future is very difficult, and so the historical accuracy has been variable, dependent on location and time period, and is often low, more so for precipitation than temperature. Environment Canada provides an assessment of their forecast method's historical accuracy on their website.

Reservoir storage

Water storage volumes in the major irrigation and hydroelectric reservoirs of the Milk, Oldman, Bow, Red Deer North Saskatchewan, and Athabasca River basins is updated each weekday and is available in the Provincial Reservoir Storage Summary.


Background information on the Water Supply Outlook is available in Frequently Asked Questions

Media Contact:
Communications Division, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Phone: (780) 427-8636