Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2003

Mountain Water Supply Forecast Summary

As of March 1, 2003, much-below-average runoff volumes are forecast for the Milk, Oldman, Bow, Red Deer, and North Saskatchewan River basins for the March to September 2003 period (Table 1). Runoff volumes are forecast to be much-below-average because of the near record low snowpack in the mountains so far this winter. Forecasted March to September 2003 volumes are lower than those recorded during the same period last year, but higher than those recorded in 2001, except in the Red Deer River basin and parts of the Bow River basin where forecast volumes are similar to 2001 recorded volumes.

The March 1 forecast for the Milk River at Milk River improved 7% from the forecast produced in February due to significant precipitation in the area this past month. Other March 1 forecasts were up to 3% lower than February 1 forecasts due to generally much-below-normal precipitation last month. Much-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