Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

March 2008

Plains Runoff Outlook

As of March 1, 2008, plains runoff is forecast to be above to much above normal in an area of Northwest Central Alberta from the Lesser Slave Lake area to the Cold Lake region (Figure 1). There is an elevated potential of significant runoff this spring in the Cold Lake and Lesser Slave Lake areas, particularly if the snowpack melts very quickly or significant precipitation occurs this spring. Although snowpack is much above average, soil moisture conditions are normal, so there is some capacity for the ground to absorb some of the melt water. Also, our snow pillow in the Swan Hills (Figure 2) indicates less snow than at the snow courses near Lesser Slave Lake, which helps lower risk of high streamflow. Alberta Environment will be monitoring these areas very closely during snowmelt. Check the Forecaster's Comments on the department website throughout the month for the most current conditions.

Above to much above average snowpack also exists in the Peace River and Athabasca regions, although with much drier soil conditions, spring snowmelt runoff is expected to be average or above average. Runoff in the rest of northern Alberta is currently expected to be generally average.

Central areas of the province are expected to record generally below average runoff this spring, although there is a small area between Edmonton and Whitecourt where runoff is expected to be below to much below average runoff is forecast. In southern Alberta much of the snow has since melted. There were average to above average amounts of snow in the Cypress Hills in mid February.

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