Alberta's water supply has mostly relied on melting snow and rain.

But two out of the last three years saw Alberta dealing with drought conditions. 

This year has been particularly dry, due to mountain snow depleting earlier than normal in the spring and a lack of rain over the summer, which caused parts of Alberta to experience drought.

This autumn saw no relief for the parched, with continued lower than average precipitation levels.

Diamond Valley and Okotoks were no exceptions.

As early as the beginning of June, the Sheep River was already lower than normal, and reservoir levels were sitting between 75 per cent and 85 percent full.

Because of this, on June 5th, 2023, the town of Okotoks moved their water conservation efforts to Stage 2. At that point, residents were asked to help alleviate pressure from our water supply by reducing water usage whenever possible.

The lack of rainfall throughout the summer and autumn only made the situation even worse.

According to a news release the Alberta government issued on December 1, October saw the Sheep River at Black Diamond at the second lowest level it has been since 2000.

Alberta is currently at stage four (out of five) of its water shortage management plan. At stage five, the province would make an emergency declaration under the Water Act. 

Because of this, the Alberta Government has issued a request for a proposal to help conduct modelling throughout the winter. They will also work with municipalities, water users, farmers, and industry to try and find ways to maximize Alberta's water supply.

This is in an effort to help conserve water and be prepared for the future.

In the news release, it states that the Alberta and Canadian governments are providing $165 million to support livestock producers affected by droughts and extreme growing conditions.

A water advisory committee of experts from outside of the government will be formed to provide recommendations and advice on how to conserve water. 

More information will be announced in the following weeks.

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