Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

May 2005

Milk River Basin - Water Supply Forecasts

As of May 1, 2005, much below average natural runoff volumes are forecast for the March to September 2005 period in the Milk River basin (Table 2). Current forecasts in the basin range from 40 to 45% of the median, 3 to 14% higher than volumes recorded during the March through September 2004 period. For the Milk River at Milk River, current forecasted values for the March to September 2005 period would rank 18th lowest in 91 years of record (1912-2001). The May forecasts are much lower than last month's, by 16 to 19%, due to precipitation during April which was generally 20 to 80% of normal.

As a result of snowpack in the area being severely depleted in January, and much below average precipitation during the March-April period, natural runoff volumes recorded during March-April 2005 were much below average, ranging from 26 to 28% of average. Recorded volume data is preliminary, and is subject to change. Forecasts for May through September are for below to much below average natural runoff volumes. This remaining volume forecast, which is the March to September 2005 forecast minus the recorded volume to date, is available in Table 2b. Much above normal precipitation is needed to get average natural runoff volumes during the coming months. Minimal precipitation will result in near record low natural runoff volumes.

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