Chapter 13: Cold Lake (full chapter download)
The Cold Lake sub-watershed includes the two largest lakes in the entire watershed: Cold and Primrose Lakes. Cold Lake in particular is one of the most popular lakes in Alberta, with a provincial park, recreation area, and the City of Cold Lake surrounding its shores. It is also the deepest lake in the watershed — the depth of some areas is as of yet unknown.
This area also includes the Medley River drainage, which flows into the northwest corner of Cold Lake. The large Primrose Lake basin in mainly located in Saskatchewan, with much of its area belonging to the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. A majority of the Cold Lake sub-watershed is comprised of water and wetland features. Most of the remaining land is undeveloped, with most land cleared at the City of Cold Lake or for oil and gas development in the Medley River area.
Due to the large amount of undeveloped land, most health indicators for the Cold Lake sub-watershed are considered good. Increased development has put some pressure on the area’s shallow aquifers, and groundwater tends to be high in total dissolved solids. There are also fairly large withdrawal licences for municipal and industrial purposes. Most of the regional environment, however, is in relatively good shape.