Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2006

Mountain Water Supply Forecast Summary

As of March 1, 2006, natural runoff volumes are forecast to be generally below average for the Milk, Red Deer and North Saskatchewan River basins for the March to September 2006 period. In the Bow and Oldman River basins, natural runoff volumes ranging from below average to average are expected. (Table 1). Forecasted volumes have increased since February 1 in most basins, however they have decreased slightly in the Red Deer River basin and for the Oldman River at Brocket.

Measured snowpacks are generally average to above average in the Kananaskis, Elbow, Waterton and St. Mary River basins, average in the Oldman River basin, below average to average in the Bow and Highwood River basins, below average in the Red Deer River and Athabasca River basins, and below to much below average in the North Saskatchewan River basin. Lower elevation basins, such as the Milk and Belly River basins, have lesser snowpack as well. Late February snowfall that occurred since measurements were taken is not enough to change this significantly.

Water Survey of Canada has updated their runoff volume data for 2005. Natural volumes calculated based on this data is available in (Table 2). This 2005 data is referenced in the basin forecast tables of this report.

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