Snow pack monitoring reveals true story about water availability

Weekly irrigation column from Keremeos Irrigation District




Snow pack monitoring has been essential for estimating the amount of water the valley receives and the behavior of the river.

In recent years, there have been above average snow packs, which may lead some people to believe that there will be excess water to use and that the following years will continue to deliver similar results.

Analyzing past trends however, above average snow packs do not have any correlation with the next year’s snow pack. The graph (right) illustrates the amount of water that drains into the Similkameen water basin from the year 2002 to 2012. The amount of water depicted is the total amount of water monitored from five of environment Canada’s active monitoring stations. Each year has fours reading, one in March, one in April and two in May for a total of 44 readings to observe.

It is readily observable that the fluctuations from year to year are not based on previous levels and that there is always a certain degree of randomness to account for.

The amount of water for the years of 2011 and 2012 are well above average, until the most recent monitored level (May 15, 2012) where the snow packs have fallen into the average range.

This data is based on the historical data available at the BC River Forecast Center’s webpage if you are interested in reviewing the data for yourself.



– Jeremy Auger-Patry