Challenging year of Drought and Water Shortages in Alberta

2023 has been a challenging year of drought and water shortage in many parts of Alberta. Alberta Rivers Basins continues to share near-real-time data and water shortage advisories.   

There are abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions throughout southern Alberta, as per the current Canadian Drought Outlook, and areas of ‘driest’ (once in 50 years) to ‘moderately low’ (once in 3-6 years) soil moisture reserves relative to normal in many areas of the region.  To add to the challenge, 2023 had an early and rapid depletion of mountain snow (approx. 2-3 weeks ahead of typical depletion trends).  Looking ahead, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s long range forecast projects a greater likelihood that El Nino conditions will persist with above average temperatures and below normal precipitation this winter.   

Water conservation reminders on behalf of the Alberta Government: 

  • Every drop matters. With many parts of Alberta experiencing dry, hot conditions, we are asking all Albertans to do their part in conserving water.  
  • Water shortages are not uncommon in some areas of Alberta. However, this has been a particularly hot, dry summer.  
  • Alberta has experienced dry summers and droughts many times before – we know the best way to get through it is by working together to ensure we do not use more water than we need. 
  • Alberta’s government is monitoring the situation and is working closely with water users and local governments to help manage and conserve water, where possible.
    • We are closely monitoring precipitation levels, reservoirs and lake levels, stream flow rates in rivers, and water demand. 
  • Everyone has a role to play in helping conserve water in their community and for their neighbours downstream. 
  • Government is working to manage water supplies, where possible, and working directly with impacted communities and Albertans. 
  • All Albertans in water-short areas should be conserving water. All users – residential, commercial and industrial – should also check with their water supplier for any conservation directions, if necessary.    
  • We will continue watching the situation closely and working with our partners to conserve and manage water for the good of all Albertans. 

 Additional Resources:  

·        Drought Webpage 

·        Stages of water management factsheet  

·        Learn to use Rivers Alberta (Video) 

·        Get to know your water flow Factsheet