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1st May 2015
Dry winter, early spring mean less water despite river levels


Medicine Hat News

River levels are high at the moment in southern Alberta but water supply this summer is expected to be average or below after a dry winter and early spring melt of the mountain and prairie snowpack.

That could lead to questions about soil moisture as crops and forage land begin to develop this spring.

In terms of irrigation, the water supply outlook for April states that both the Oldman and Bow rivers will be at average or below from March to September period, according to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

Thatís due to below average snow pack. The head of the Bow River basin recorded well below average reserves on April 1, with several stations recording 30-year record lows similar to the Oldman region.

The St. Maryís River sub-system will also be below average considering the snowpack, through the Milk River basin is expected to slightly above average levels.

Current levels are the result of an early spring thaw at lower elevations.

Spring snowpack on the plains of much of the province was rated as much-below average

Precipitation in the month for much of southern Alberta counted less than 10 mm of rainfall as of April 27.

The first Alberta crop report is expected to be published on May 8. The Saskatchewan crop report traditionally begins in early May.