Stettler County Council: Normal moisture situation, council heard

The County of Stettler Agriculture Service Board (ASB) heard central Alberta, especially areas near the Red Deer River, are enjoying normal moisture levels as of reports collected May 10. The reports were presented at the May 22 regular ASB meeting.

The ASB is comprised of county council and chaired by Coun. Les Stulberg.

Stulberg noted he asked Manager of Agriculture Operations Quinton Beaumont to collect information on provincial reservoir levels, with Beaumont providing the reports; he added he tried to collect data right up to the day of the ASB meeting so it would be as relevant as possible.

As he introduced his report Beaumont stated that reservoir levels in central Alberta appear to be normal for this time of year. However, the situation changes somewhat the further south you travel in Alberta.

“As of May 10, 2024 the water level in the reservoirs across the province are as follows,” stated Beaumont’s report to the board.

“Water levels in some southern Alberta reservoirs owned and operated by the Alberta government are well below normal for this time of year.

“Oldman Reservoir – Current storage is 42 per cent. Normal for this time of year is between 65 per cent and 87 per cent.

“St. Mary Reservoir – Current storage is 52 per cent. Normal for this time of year is between 63 per cent and 81 per cent.

“Pine Coulee Reservoir – Current storage is 40 per cent. Normal for this time of year is between 74 per cent and 84 per cent.

“Waterton Reservoir – Current storage is 48 per cent. Normal for this time of year is between 61 per cent and 74 per cent.

“Gleniffer Reservoir (Dickson Dam) – Current storage is 50 per cent. Normal for this time of year is between 48 per cent and 63 per cent.”

Stulberg stated county council had heard over last fall and winter that moisture levels were down, leaving reservoirs somewhat lower than normal; he described one southern Alberta reservoir being as low as nine per cent of its capacity.

Stulberg stated that with late winter snow and spring showers he was hoping to see the reservoirs filled up but it appears that didn’t happen across Alberta. However, the chair observed that the moisture situation, even in southern Alberta, has definitely improved.

Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk presented the board with a graph illustrating annual water levels at the Dickson Dam west of the City of Red Deer; the graph showed that Dickson Dam’s current water levels are such that the dam could release more water than it’s obligated to in order to remain below it’s 75 per cent capacity level.

Brysiuk explained the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains haven’t melted yet, and the dam wisely keeps 25 per cent open capacity in its reservoir to handle such late spring, early summer melting.

Stulberg observed once the June heat starts to hit the mountains a lot of snow can melt very quickly, bloating the river’s level.

During discussion board members agreed central Alberta, at least areas near the Red Deer River, appear to enjoy acceptable moisture levels.

Coun. Dave Grover observed the cooler temperatures have also played a role in that.

Councillors accepted the provincial reservoir levels report as information.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.