Kids waded into the river at Bower Ponds, across from Capstone, along an exposed sandbar. The Red Deer River is much lower than usual this spring, prompting concerns about a water shortage if this dry spell turns into a drought. (Advocate file photo)

Kids waded into the river at Bower Ponds, across from Capstone, along an exposed sandbar. The Red Deer River is much lower than usual this spring, prompting concerns about a water shortage if this dry spell turns into a drought. (Advocate file photo)

Alberta Environment expects Red Deer River water levels to rise over next few weeks

Warming temperatures will be melting snowpack in the mountains

The low water flow on the Red Deer River is expected to change soon.

Alberta Environment confirmed through Twitter on Thursday there’s still lots of snowpack left in the mountains, which is melting two or three weeks later than usual, due to a cool spring.

This mountain meltwater is expected to make its way into the Red Deer River and other provincial waterways over the coming weeks as the weather warms, bringing most rivers back in line with seasonal averages.

“We are already seeing stream flows in the headwaters of most river basins,” the Tweet from Alberta Environment states.

Many of Alberta’s rivers are noticeably lower than usual for this time of year — among them are the Red Deer River, as well as the Athabasca, North and South Saskatchewan, Bow, Elbow, and Oldman Rivers.

The low water levels are due to May precipitation for much of central and southern Alberta being well below average.

Alberta Environment stated that the ample mountain snowpack means reservoirs are positioned to be filled on schedule.

Last Week Glennifer Reservoir, which helps control the water level of the Red Deer River, downstream of the Dickson Dam, was recorded by Alberta Environment to be only at 35 per cent capacity, which is likely why the province isn’t releasing more water into the river at this time.

Spring melting is not expected to bring about significant flood risk this year, since flooding in Alberta is primarily driven by heavy rain.

Alberta Environment reported some areas of southern Alberta are already dealing with water shortage issues, notably Willow Creek. Alberta Environment staff are working with irrigators there to resolve the problem.

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