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Current flooding well below 2011 volume

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The flooding Manitoba experienced three years ago was definitively worse than the flooding it's experiencing now, provincial officials said during a flood briefing today.

The province also provided charts to show the amount of floodwater from the Assiniboine River handled by the Portage Diversion in 2011 compared to this summer.

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Steve Topping, provincial executive director of hydrologic forecasting and water management, said the Portage Reservoir saw a daily inflow of more than 30,000 cubic feet per second of water for about three months in the spring of 2011.

"This year it’s going to be less than a month’s duration," Topping said.

Topping said the Portage Diversion discharged more than 30,000 cfs into Lake Manitoba for more than a month in 2011. This summer, the diversion is handling the same amount of water, but for only about two weeks. In 2011, the diversion operated at 15,000 cfs for about five months while this year it’s forecast to be six weeks.

"The flood of 2011 was twice the volume of 2014," he said.

The total volume of the 2011 flood was 4.73 million-acre feet. The total volume of this year’s flood is 2.623 million-acre feet.

The province has said it’s working on five options to enhance the outflow out of Lake Manitoba at the Fairford River Water Control Structure, and a sixth option to dig a channel from Watchorn Bay on Lake Manitoba to follow the Birch Creek to Lake St. Martin.

The province was to make the options public at open houses that were to start last month, but they were postponed until the fall because of the summer flood threat.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said before Lake Manitoba can be drained, a permanent outlet for neighbouring Lake St. Martin has to be built.

"We’re well into our initial engineering work," Ashton said. "Our goal is to get it built as soon as possible and it certainly is very much on track."

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