Snow, a forgotten friend?

by Helge Nome

As Central and Southern Aberta is heading towards a possible emergency drought scenario this spring and summer, individuals and organizations can take many steps to protect their own interests and take pressure off municipal water supplies: Rather than simply letting runoff from precipitation escape their properties, a portion of same can be captured relatively easily without a lot of expense.

That goes for snow in particular. Using storage containers and sweat equity, hundreds, if not thousands of litres of water can be saved for hot summer days when the value of water is really appreciated. In an urban or suburban setting, low cost square tote boxes are particularly suited for this purpose because they are able to expand without cracking, as water from melted snow freezes between chinook cycles. 

When the water is needed for trees, shrubs and planters during the summer, a small portable sump-pump connected to a garden hose can be used to distribute the water.

On a larger scale, water from melting snow can be captured on the property and retained by shallow depressions along contour lines, or directed to lined ponds depending upon intended end use. 

Snow harvesting is carried out in many cold and arid areas of the world and as surface water and groundwater supplies are getting more elusive, the time has come to grab water before it slips away from us, here in Alberta.”