The Bow River and its tributaries have a wide range of flows throughout the year. Peak flows are reached during late June and July following snow melt in the mountains and taper off until the fall. But since the 2013 flood that devastated Calgary an agreement has been put in place to reduce the impact of spring runoff on the city in the event of extreme flood projections.
The basics of the revised water management protocol is to release water storage capacity in Ghost Reservoir and other upstream reservoirs during the month of May to allow for increased catchment of spring runoff during June and returning operations to normal in July once the treat of flooding is diminished.
Ghost Reseroir water storage capacity is currently being reduced in advance of spring runoff.
The most recent Reservoir Storage Summary for 2020 May 15 shows all major storage reservoirs in the Bow River Basin at relatively low levels. Ghost Reservoir at 23% and Glenmore Reservoir at 52% of capacity and the remainder lower than in previous years speaks well for the flood preparedness within the basin.
Hopefully the high snowpack in the East Slopes of the Rocky Mountains will not be released too quickly once the temperature rises over the next month.
Bow River Discharge Forecast for Bearspaw Reservoir.
Bow River flow release forecasts from Ghost and Bearpaw reservoirs are reported by TransAlta to the river user community from April to October. CRUA will post this data on the website each Friday and more frequently if condition warrant.
The flow forecasts are a predicted daily average flow and are governed by upstream supply. During the course of the day flows can fluctuate to meet the daily predictions and demands.
River users with questions can contact us at TransAlta Hydro Operations at or call 1-877-967-2555.
The Alberta Government’ s Rivers App reports live flow rates and snow pack across the province. Stream flow advisories are also availableonthewebsite.