The Bow River system is fundamental to the daily life of people in the watershed and downstream, providing water for drinking, irrigation, livestock, waste assimilation, electricity generation, wildlife, and recreation.
Historical records and estimates for the Bow River show dramatic variation in volume from year to year as well as within years. The need to adapt to an ever-changing environment and often rapidly changing weather conditions is a simple reality of life in the basin. The flow in the Bow River is heavily influenced by water management infrastructure. The water from snowmelt and spring rains, partially captured by upstream and downstream reservoirs, has allowed for sufficient flows, in most years, for environmental protection, municipal purposes, power production and irrigation.
A less predictable water supply and an increasing demand for water as well as changing climate and demand patterns mean that careful water management will be critical to success in our economic, community, recreational, and environmental future. A fundamental principle of this work is that floods and droughts cannot be prevented, but we can be better prepared.