Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2002

Water Supply Forecast Summary

Despite average snow accumulations at the higher elevations, the March 1, 2002 water supply forecast is for much-below-average natural runoff volumes in the Milk River basin, below-average to much-below-average in the Oldman River basin and below-average volumes for the Bow, Red Deer and North Saskatchewan River basins (Table 1). This is as a result of the extreme soil moisture deficit and lack of significant snowpack below 6000 feet in most areas of the province. A significant snowstorm in the area below 6000 feet would dramatically improve the water supply forecast.

All forecast locations in the March 1 Forecast improved 1 to 7% from the forecasts produced in February. March 1 forecasted volumes are generally 10 to 25% higher than the recorded March to September 2001 natural runoff volumes. The natural runoff volume forecasts for the Bow River basin forecast have improved the most of any basin in the province to date when compared to last year's recorded volume.

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