Important Notice: 2024 Irrigation Season Water Supply Update JANUARY 2024

Jan 19, 2024

Dear Irrigators,We would like to update you on the water supply level as of January 16, 2024 based on the most recent information obtained from Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation. The storage level in the District’s reservoirs stay fairly constant throughout the winter season when water is not flowing in the canals. We are still maintaining at 136,000 acre-feet, which represents 43% of the Full Supply Limit (FSL) irrigation storage volume. The Headworks reservoirs comprised of the Waterton, St. Mary and Milk River Ridge reservoirs, continue to experience minor gains since the end of the irrigation season, and now contain a combined storage of 133,000 acre-feet, equivalent to 27% of the FSL. The current total of all of the storage in the St. Mary Project reservoirs is 34% of FSL. Please note we target our winter storage levels at a lower amount than FSL to accommodate spring run off and precipitation events. We are currently at 44% of our combined Headworks and District reservoirs winter storage target levels.As you can see in the below Combined Irrigation Storage for the Headworks reservoirs, we are still below the Lower Quartiles for January.

Snowpack has started to increase since the middle of December. All three stations are still below the lower quartile. As you can see from the below Snow Pillow charts the majority of the snowfall is not received until February – April in a normal year. We have yet to receive our meaningful snowfall. Snow Pillow information can be monitored at Alberta Environment and Parks

We met with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas on January 10, 2024 to discuss the Government of Alberta status of drought preparedness. WaterSMART Solutions has been engaged by the province to work on drought modelling to explore ways to maximize the water supply. They are planning modelling workshops to be held in February that SMRID will attend to provide input into the Southern Tributaries modelling exercises.AEPA prepared a Town Hall update in December that provides information on where the Province is in relation to drought readiness. You can watch the update below.

Based on the current supply situation, we continue to strongly advise each member to commence planning their crops considering the possibility of not receiving a full allocation of water per acre for the 2024 irrigation season.

We will continue to closely monitor the snowpack and precipitation levels over the next three months and will keep you updated on any developments on the following dates:

February 15, 2024

March 15, 2024

April 3, 2024 (AGM)

It is still too early to predict what the water allocation will be as the meaningful snow falls in February, March and April. The snowfall we experienced this week is very welcomed. George Lohues

The Board of Directors, St. Mary River Irrigation District