The water crisis in Alberta is set to deepen with an expected surge in rainfall, with the province facing the possibility of a total dry spell until the end of the year.
With no rain, the drought is likely to last another week or so, and then the water level in reservoirs could dip to dangerously low levels.
“It’s going to be a real challenge for us to maintain our ability to keep our reservoirs at capacity,” said Jim Macdonald, Alberta’s minister of natural resources.
“We’ll be looking at a very large, very rapid increase in the number of people who will be in the region, and that will be a significant impact on our water infrastructure.”
In the last month, the state of Alberta has received just under 1.5 millimetres of rain — less than a tenth of the amount that fell in 2015.
The drop in rainfall was enough to cause widespread flooding in parts of the province, with more than 3,200 homes flooded.
It also meant the province had to declare a state of emergency on Monday, which was extended until May 20.
While the situation has improved in the past week, the situation is still far from normal.
The worst-case scenario is that the rain that falls in May and June will not be enough to keep reservoirs above a certain level. “
I think it’s a sign that the people in the province understand what is at stake here, and I think that’s a real encouraging sign for us that we’re not going to have a repeat of the drought we had last year.”
The worst-case scenario is that the rain that falls in May and June will not be enough to keep reservoirs above a certain level.
The rain will continue to drop over the coming months, and eventually the reservoirs will start to fall, said Kevin Treloar, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.
If that happens, the problem could be more acute than ever.
“What happens in Alberta can really be catastrophic for our province and our country,” said Macdonald.
So that’s what is happening with this drought.”