Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

February 2004

Mountain Water Supply Forecast Summary

As of February 1, 2004, below-average to much-below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Milk and North Saskatchewan River basins for the March to September 2004 period, while below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Oldman, Bow and Red Deer River basins (Table 1). While snowpack conditions are generally average to above average in the Red Deer and Oldman River basins and below-average to average in the Milk, Waterton, St.Mary, Bow and North Saskatchewan River basins, soil moisture conditions range from below-average to extremely dry. Forecasted March to September 2004 volumes are up to 15% lower than those recorded during the same period last year in the Milk, North Saskatchewan and Red Deer River basins, but generally higher than last year in the Bow and Oldman River basins, by up to 20%. Forecasted volumes are much greater than the near-record lows recorded during the drought year of 2001. Above-normal precipitation is needed to achieve average flow volumes in most basins this year.

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