The Big Picture
The outlook for Canada through January 2017 (below) indicates widespread water deficits of varying severity across the country with pockets of exceptional deficits in parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland.

In response to lessons learned from the 2015 drought and ever increasing temperatures, water officials in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, initiated Stage 1 water restrictions on May 15, two weeks earlier than normal. Stage 1 is the least restrictive of four stages and mandates an outdoor watering scheme on alternate days for odd- and even-numbered street addresses.

More than 80,000 people were evacuated from Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta in early May as a wildfire fueled by usually warm temperatures and dry conditions burned more than 850 square kilometers (330 square miles).

Farmers in Alberta remain concerned about low moisture levels negatively affecting germination, conditions which threaten to produce a repeat of last year when Alberta declared an agricultural disaster. Grasshoppers - yet another potential crop destroyer - are thriving after a dry winter and early warm spring.

Forecast Breakdown
As indicated in the 3-month maps (below) for the same 12-month period, abnormal (3-5 year) to exceptional (greater than 40 year) deficits are forecast in many parts of the country through October, with deficits gradually diminishing throughout the period. Large pockets of exceptional deficits are forecast May through July in British Columbia, central Alberta, northern Manitoba, eastern Ontario, Quebec, and southern Newfoundland. Pockets of exceptional water surpluses are forecast to persist in northern Saskatchewan and to the east and west of Lake Winnipeg in central Manitoba.

From August through October conditions are forecast to improve as larger pockets of exceptional deficits shrink somewhat in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland. However, deficits will persist across the country. Deficits are forecast on the Peace and Athabasca Rivers in northern Alberta. By October water deficits are forecast to moderate in severity and extent. Moderate deficits may emerge along the Saskatchewan River and its southern branch.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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