Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

February 2002

Water Supply Forecast Summary

As of February 1, 2002, much-below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast in the Milk and Oldman River basins for the March to September 2002 period (Table 1). Below-average to much-below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Red Deer and North Saskatchewan River basins. In the Bow River basin, below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast.

The forecast volumes produced on February 1 are generally 10 to 20% higher than the recorded March to September 2001 natural runoff volumes. Despite near normal snow accumulations above 6000 feet in most areas, accumulations drop sharply as you move down in elevation. This is evident in the forecasts, as areas that have considerable drainage area above 6000 feet (Bow River at Banff, as an example) have a higher percentage than those basins that have a greater percentage of drainage area at lower elevations. A significant snow storm in the area below 6000 feet would dramatically improve the water supply forecasts in all areas.

These forecasts assume that precipitation over the summer period will be normal. Precipitation will have a major impact on the summer water supply forecast between now and the end of September. Streamflow volume forecasts will be updated monthly until mid-summer. Check our Forecaster's Comments throughout the month for updated information regarding runoff conditions.

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