Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2004

Mountain Water Supply Forecast Summary

As of March 1, 2004, below-average to much-below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Oldman, Bow and North Saskatchewan River basins for the March to September 2004 period, while below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Red Deer River basin, and much-below-average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the Milk River basin (Table 1). While snowpack conditions are generally below-average to average in the Oldman River basin, below-average in the Red Deer, Waterton, St.Mary, and Bow River basins, and below-average to much-below-average in the North Saskatchewan River basin, soil moisture conditions range from below-average to extremely dry. Forecasted March to September 2004 volumes are 6 to 27% lower than those recorded during the same period last year in the Milk, Belly, Cascade Reservoir, North Saskatchewan and Red Deer River basins, but generally higher than last year in the Bow and Oldman River basins, by 1 to 14%. Forecasted volumes are much greater than the near-record lows recorded during the drought year of 2001. Minimal precipitation across most of Alberta during February resulted in forecasted runoff volumes dropping by 2 to 13% since February 1. 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