Water shortage advisory issued for Battle River

The Battle River Watershed Alliance has issued a water shortage advisory for Battle River.

The alliance said on its website that historically, the Battle River has variable flows, but El Niño conditions resulted in below-average precipitation levels. Precipitation is the primary supply for the river.

As of February 2024, drought conditions in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds are categorized as severe to extreme, and conditions in the Special Areas are categorized as exceptional.

On its website, the alliance said this winter’s snowpack has been below average for the majority of the watershed.

Snowpack was at a record low in several areas in the watershed. Bigstone, for example, had a snow water equivalent of 27 this year compared to the historical average of 69 making it rank as the third lowest snowpack over 50 years.

Water levels in both the Battle River and Sounding Creek fluctuate throughout the year primarily due to precipitation and evaporation.

In 2023, water volumes for the Battle River hovered around the 5th percentile.

This represents very low flow volumes that occur on average once every 20 years. With some rain over the summer, levels recovered slightly going into the fall. Overall, water levels were well below the long-term average last year.

The alliance suggested to residents that in times of water shortages, it is important to take part in conserving water for the community.

Many municipalities rely on the Battle River as a drinking water source and during drought, there can be a limited supply of water that impacts everyone.

Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ponoka News