Calgary still experiencing drought despite recent snowfall: City

Despite considerable recent snowfall within city limits and in the Rocky Mountains, the City of Calgary says it has seen little relief from drought.

In a statement released Monday, the city says low river flows and dry conditions are still persisting regionally throughout southern Alberta, emphasizing the need for everyone to do their part to conserve water.

City officials says mountain snowpack upstream from Calgary, which provides most of the runoff for the Bow and Elbow Rivers, has increased over the last several days, but continues to trend below average.

March to April is typically when the mountains receive the most snow, according to the city.

Conditions are being closely monitored by city, which is also taking steps to prepare for challenges that may present in the upcoming spring and summer.

“The recent snowfall in the mountains over the last week was a welcome change, but more precipitation is needed throughout the next few months to significantly improve drought conditions,” explained Nicole Newton, Manager of Natural Environment and Adaptation. “If we don’t get the snow and rain we need, outdoor water restrictions will come into effect as early as this spring to ensure there’s enough water to meet Calgary’s essential needs including water for drinking and fighting fires, as well as to support our neighbours and river health.”

The Bow and Elbow River flows have generally remained below average this winter, according to the city, and total reservoir storage in the Bow watershed upstream from Calgary is also below average for this time of year.

In the city, water storage at the Glenmore Reservoir is slightly above historic norms, due largely in part to water conservation to date and 2020 upgrades, which nearly doubled the amount of water that could be stored, the city says.

City officials continue to urge water conservation from residents, and now is the time to make every drop count.

Small, daily changes in water use can add up — like washing only full loads in the laundry and dishwasher, turning off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth, or taking shorter showers. Not only can these habits lower water use, but they can also save money on a household utility bill.

Gardeners are also being encouraged to prepare their yard for dry conditions, the city says. Adding mulch to gardens will help reduce evaporation and installing a rain barrel or two will catch rainwater to use for watering gardens and plants. Those planning new landscaping or gardening projects this year are asked to consider drought-tolerant native plants.

Businesses can also do their part and make water-efficient choices. Owners are asked to find essential and less essential water uses and seeing if there are potential opportunities for water savings, such as fixing leaks to installing water-efficient fixtures.

For more information on drought conditions, as well as tips and resources to use water wisely, visit

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