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Water Supply

The Main Canal Advisory Committee (SMRID, TID, RID), will be meeting in advance of the irrigation season to review the water supply outlook. The annual allocation is typically set in April, following the peak accumulation of snow water equivalent in the upper watersheds.


May 20, 2020:
East Horsefly Main pipeline was delivering water Friday May 15th. Water was available in 100% of the district by the end of the advertised startup, with most areas served the week before. The forecast water supply at the farm gate has dropped due to a drier than normal April. The allocation of 16" was set conservatively and we are not anticipating changes to this.

May 12, 2020: All leaks have been repaired and all pipelines and canals are in service except for the East Horsefly Main pipeline. The East Horsefly Main canal and spillway is flushed through to Bonette Lake and the settling pond is partially filled and ready to be topped up. The pipeline is complete and waiting for a concrete thrust block to cure before flushing/filling Thursday.

May 11, 2020: About 90% of the district is operational. Lateral 5 Barnwell and Lateral 3 East Horsefly had leaks repaired and the lines are refilled or refilling. East Horsefly Main Canal has been flushed through to the new pond and is filling. The East Horsefly Main Pipeline north tie-in is complete and the south tie-in was underway this morning.

May 8, 2020: Approximately 75% of the district is flushed and filled. East Horsefly Main to Lateral 7 and Lateral 7 canal are being flushed today, to be followed by filling the Lateral 7 pipelines. The north side East Horsefly Main pipeline tie-in and restoration of the canal crossing at Purple Springs is being completed prior to flushing the downstream reach of East Horsefly Main canal and filling the new pond. The new pipeline will be filled as soon as the south side tie-in is completed.

May 7, 2020:
Most of the district is now flushed and checked/filled. We are flushing the last few laterals and filling pipelines. Lateral 17 and Taber Lake Lateral (Ohashi) were done today. East Horsefly Main to Lateral 7 and Lateral 7 canal will be started tomorrow, followed by the Lateral 7 pipeline, the downstream reach of East Horsefly Main, filling the new pond and then the new pipeline.

May 6, 2020: Taber Main Canal will be flushed today. Many laterals are being flushed and pipelines are being primed. There was one below-ground leak at a turnout on Lateral 1A Cranford that will be repaired today. No other significant issues. Water orders remain low (less than 5), with some additional inquiries. Spill is being minimized by cutting back to trickle flows on flushed canals. The gate calibrations are being completed, as are the tie-ins for the East Horsefly Main pipeline and the armour on the Lateral 7 pond.

May 5, 2020: Cranford and Barnwell pipelines as well as Lateral 3 and 3D Taber and Lateral M pipeline are primed or currently being filled. Lateral M, North Fincastle East, East Horsefly Main (to Lateral 2EH) have been flushed and are being checked up. Trickle flows have been started in Big Bend Main with Taber Main, North Fincastle West and others to follow. Laterals of flushed canals will be flushed and pipelines filled in order or by priority based on water order requests. There have been no significant issues (debris clogging, leaks, sloughs, washouts), with TID infrastructure to date.

May 4, 2020: The Horsefly Approach Channel has been accepting 50cfs of SMRID spill into Horsefly Reservoir since Friday. In anticipation of water order requests (opened up this morning), the operations group is starting trickle flows into some canals today and starting to flush/fill some pipelines off the SMRID main canal. Priority will go to opening up one or more canals that support Taber and Fincastle reservoirs (TMC, Lateral M, EHFM-Lateral 2), and to longer distribution canals (NFE, BBMC) over the next few days. To ensure readiness while avoiding wasting water on canals that spill to the river, trickle flows are being started first and will progress to flushing/checking based on demand. A few areas with new projects require final gate calibration, armour placement and inspection prior to running water later this week. The East Horsefly Main Canal Pipeline project carrier pipe is being installed through the casing under the highway/railway today, with tie-ins to take place this week.

April 30, 2020 Update: The SMRID main canal downstream of Stafford has been flushed and they are in the process of raising the level at various check structures.

April 21, 2020 Update: With the recent warm weather the ice cleared up and the divers removed the Chin to Stafford bulkheads on April 20th. SMRID will start trickle flows, followed by flushing and then raising check gates over the course of the next two weeks. This process is required to melt canal ice gradually to avoid ice chunks damaging structures, to prevent excess scour of the canal bed and to add water loading to structures evenly. SMRID will notify TID when we can start taking first water for our filling/flushing, and then when we can start placing water orders. Our startup week is advertised as May 11-15. We will send email/text notifications to users that are signed up with us if water is available sooner.

April 14, 2020 Update: Snow pack is well above the upper quartile at all three snow pillows within the St. Mary Project catchments. Reservoirs are near normal levels. An initial 16" allocation has been approved with startup during the week of May 11-15. Startup is just past the typical May 10th date rather than earlier due to extensive ice on SMRID reservoirs. Open water is required so divers can safely remove the protective bulkheads on the upstream side of the Chin to Stafford reservoir conduits. Ice breakup concerns and the risk of downstream damage is limiting first water out of Cross Coulee reservoir.

March 04, 2020 Update: We are continuing to track above the upper quartile in the highest elevation snow pillows at Flat Top (Waterton & Belly R. headwaters) and Akamina (Waterton headwaters), with Many Glaciers (St. Mary headwaters) still above last year's median accumulation. This bodes well both for overall water supply and for mid-summer supply. The upper elevation snow is our natural reservoir with gradual release after the spring freshet. With more accumulation in our northerly sources, we will be heavily dependent on the Waterton to Belly and Belly to St. Mary headworks canals to fill and maintain the large St. Mary Reservoir this year.

January 28, 2020 Update: We are at or above the upper quartile for accumulations in the Akamina and Flat Top snow pillows and mid-range for Many Glacier, generally between 115-140% of normal. This means Waterton Reservoir looks good for filling and contributing to St. Mary volumes this year if remaining accumulations are at or above normal from here on in. It is too early to tell the prospects for St. Mary Reservoir as annual variance on Many Glacier doesn’t separate until early-mid February. Headworks reservoirs filled a bit during late fall snow/melt events leaving us only a small amount below winter target levels.

Alberta Environment and Parks publishes data on Alberta's River Basins. Their website can be found by following the link below:


Alberta's River Basins

The St. Mary Project, including TID, is within the Oldman River Basin. We receive our water from the Waterton, St. Mary and Belly Rivers. ​Snow pillows are tracked to provide an indication of the water available in our natural "mountain reservoirs". Akamina snow pillow is in the Waterton River headwaters, Flat Top Mt. is in the Waterton and Belly River headwaters and Many Glacier Mt is in the St. Mary headwaters.

Links to the Water Supply Outlook, Water Management Reports and various other Maps and Data Summaries are also available from this site.

This information is summarized for us and provided weekly from Water Management Operations (part of AESRD) to assist us in managing our water supply. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD) provides a summary each spring that provides a statistical analysis of the available water to inform our decisions regarding water allocation.