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Reservoir slowly returns to normal

Water flows in the Red Deer River downstream from Dickson Dam remain low while the reservoir refills to its normal level for this time of year.

Ross Martyn, team leader for the Dickson Dam, said the reservoir is rising, but remains slightly below its normal level, due largely to a lack of runoff from the spring melt.

Rain and snow late in May helped a bit, but did not have a significant impact, Martyn said on Wednesday.

Under agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions, including the province of Saskatchewan, the government of Alberta is legally required to release 16 cubic metres of water per second from the dam to ensure that users downstream have an adequate water supply.

Water is now being released through the dam at slightly above that legal minimum, with higher flows anticipated once the Gleniffer Lake reservoir has filled, said Martyn.

Water in Gleniffer Lake had reached an elevation of 942.43 metres as of Wednesday afternoon, slightly below its 25-year average level of 943.22 metres for this time of year, said Carrie Sancartier, a spokesperson for Alberta Environment.

There is no way to know how long it will take to reach the desired level, said Sancartier.

Much will depend on weather during the coming days.

About half of the mountain snow cap has now melted, said Martyn.

Temperature and precipitation will determine how long it takes the remaining snow to melt into the river, he said.

While the water level in Gleniffer Lake is still slightly short of normal, Alberta Environment has no concerns about water supplies for the Red Deer River this year, said Sancartier.

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