Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

June 2003

North Saskatchewan River Basin - Water Supply Forecasts

Natural runoff volumes for the March to September 2003 period are forecast to be near average for the North Saskatchewan River basin, ranging from 96 to 99% of average (Table 6a). Rapid, early snowmelt created average to much-above-average runoff volumes in May, which caused current forecasts to improve by 4 to 9% since May 1. The Bighorn Reservoir, which is in the mountains, had its forecast improve by only 4% since there was less snow in the mountains than at lower elevations. Especially high runoff from areas along the divide with the Red Deer River basin, where a storm hit in early May, caused the Edmonton forecast to improve the most since May 1.

The June 1 forecasts for March through September at Edmonton and the Brazeau Reservoir are 27% and 25% higher, respectively, than volumes recorded over the same time period last year, while the Bighorn Reservoir forecast is 5% lower than last year's volume. Current forecasted volumes are higher than those recorded in 2001 by 15 to 32%. Current forecasted values for the March to September period for the North Saskatchewan River at Edmonton would rank 46th lowest in 84-years of record (1912-95).

The first three months of the forecast period have been completed, with March-May 2003 recorded runoff volumes ranging from 122 to 139% of average. Volumes recorded at the Bighorn and Brazeau reservoirs were third and fourth highest in 18 and 29 years of record, respectively, and volumes at Edmonton were tenth highest in 85 years of record. The remaining volume forecast, which is the March to September 2003 forecast minus the recorded volume to date, is available in Table 6b.

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