PUBLISHED: 13 August 2012

Water Yield and Streamflow Trend Analysis for Alberta’s Watersheds

Alberta is a province with a very diverse climate. The consequence is that some watersheds capture large amounts of water for downstream users, while other watersheds capture almost no water.

Agriculture, energy, and economic development over the last century has transformed Alberta. Water often remains a significant limiting factor to population growth, economic development and environmental protection. Whether one considers irrigation, tourism, recreation, or the economic development in urban and rural areas, water remains the key to unlocking new opportunities. When we dd in the uncertainties  associated with climate change, it is clear that an inventory of current water resources is the first step towards prudent water resources management.

Map - Where does our water come from in Alberta?

Though there is considerable spatial agro-hydrological information available on watersheds, soils, and land suitability for Canada (National Land and Water Information Service) and the prairies (Agri-Environment Services Branch), many important hydro-climatological variables are not available at a provincial or regional scale.

Efforts to develop an inventory of Alberta’s current water resources (Alberta Hydro-Climatological Atlas) have been significantly advanced by the research of Dr. Stefan Kienzle (Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography) at the University of Lethbridge, with funding and support from the Alberta Water Research Institute (now Alberta Innovates), and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (now Alberta Innovates).

Dr. Kienzle’s report titled Water Yield and Streamflow Trend Analysis for Alberta Watersheds provides a comprehensive analysis of Alberta’s streamflow records (from 1971 to 2000) for both magnitude and possible trends.

We encourage you to learn more about this research and Alberta’s water yield, and its river and streamflow trends, by clicking the links below:

Alberta’s Water Yield

  • Cubic Meters (per square kilometer per year
  • Percent Contribution (for major Alberta watersheds)

Annual and Seasonal Flow Trends

  • Annual Flows (mean, min, max.)
  • Seasonal Flows (winter, spring, summer, fall)


Contact us, if you have a question for Stefan Kienzle on the report Water Yield and Streamflow Trend Analysis for Alberta Watersheds.