Lower Water Levels at Carolside Reservoir Means Challenges Ahead in 2022
Anglers and visitors to Carolside Campground may have noticed some changes this fall. Water levels at Carolside Reservoir are well below normal levels because of severe drought conditions which continue to impact the region.
The Carolside South Irrigation Advisory Committee (CSIAC) is working with Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) to look at ways to increase water levels at the reservoir next spring ahead of the 2022 irrigation season.
“Carolside has always depended on runoff to restore water levels each spring. Last spring, spring runoff didn’t happen. This meant water levels remained very low, and our stored water supply had to be used to support irrigation for the system. We worked with irrigators throughout the summer to manage lower water volumes through reduced pumping and other mitigations, but we are going into 2022 at a significant water deficit. We are working with Alberta Environment to identify if there are any economically viable options to increase water levels if needed for next spring.”
Jay Slemp, Chairman
Carolside South Irrigation Advisory Committee
AEP is responsible for the operation of the Sheerness-Blowdown canal and associated irrigation systems. The day-to-day operation of these systems is contracted to Special Areas by AEP, and CSIAC provides advice to both AEP and Special Areas about these irrigation systems. The CSIAC committee includes representatives from the Special Areas Advisory Council and irrigators using the system, with the Chairman appointed by the Special Areas Board. The committee met in October to review this summer’s irrigation system operations and to begin planning the 2022 season.
“Alberta Environment and Parks recognized there was going to be an issue with Carolside Reservoir levels. Mitigation measures included pumping additional water through the Deadfish Pumphouse to supply water to the lower Berry Creek. This relieved some of the pressure on Carolside Reservoir as it normally supplements irrigation demand on the Lower Berry Creek. We continue to work with local stakeholders to respond to impacts of 2021’s severe drought if these conditions continue into 2022.
Clayton Weiss, Bow Operations and Infrastructure Manager
Alberta Environment & Parks
Alberta Environment & Parks is the owner of the Sheerness-Blowdown canal and other water infrastructure related to the irrigation system.