Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2002

Reservoir Operations

Bow River

Total Carsland-Bow River Headworks storage is at much-below-normal levels. Diversion period in 2002 will be extended prior to and after the irrigation season to build up the total storage to normal levels. Some users around Lake McGregor may experience some difficulty in withdrawing water early in the season.

All of TransAlta's and EID's storages are at normal. Based on current snowpack conditions and with normal precipitation no operational concerns are expected.

Oldman River and Southern Tributaries

Storage levels are very low in the Oldman River, Waterton, St. Mary and Milk River Ridge Reservoirs. Storage is also very low in the SMRID reservoir system. The levels in Keho Lake and Chain Lakes are normal. The level in Pine Coulee Reservoir is very low. The level in Clear Lake is low but we expect to be able to fill to within the operating range in May without much difficulty.

For the Waterton-St. Mary Headworks System, we intend to move water downstream from the Waterton and St. Mary Reservoirs into the Milk River Ridge Reservoir for delivery to the SMRID/TID/RID as early as possible this season, by mid-April at the latest. The initial emphasis will be on refilling storage facilities in the SMRID as much as possible before deliveries to farmers actually begin. In the early part of the irrigation season, we will continue to move water from Waterton and St. Mary as quickly as possible down to Ridge. Once we have Ridge at an acceptable level, we will try to fill St. Mary.

For Payne Lake, we do not expect any difficulty in filling the lake early in the season.

For the Lethbridge Northern Headworks System, initial deliveries to the LNID will not be adversely affected by storage conditions in the Oldman River Reservoir or Keho Lake. Based on current snowpack conditions and the expectation of normal spring and summer rainfall, we expect to fill the Oldman River Reservoir by the end of June.

For the Pine Coulee Diversion, we expect to continue to depend largely on rainfall runoff into Willow Creek to sustain our diversion at a high enough rate and for long enough to fill the Pine Coulee Reservoir. Snowmelt runoff by itself will probably not be sufficient to fill.

In the Cypress Hills, we do not expect much runoff from snowmelt. Many of the reservoirs are at very low levels, and we do not expect much recovery from that condition unless we get some heavy rains.

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