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Flood infrastructure projects could cost $1 billion: province

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The Selinger government says it could cost well over a $1 billion to implement the large infrastructure projects proposed by two major reviews of the 2011 Manitoba flood released on Friday.

On Wednesday, the province offered its first detailed comments on the Manitoba 2011 Flood Review Task Force Report (also known as the Farlinger Report) and a companion document on the regulation of Lake St. Martin and Lake Manitoba.

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Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said the government supports a key recommendation in both reports calling for construction of an additional outlet from Lake Manitoba to better control water levels. It also supports making permanent an emergency outlet built in 2011 to relieve pressure on Lake St. Martin.

They were two of several infrastructure improvements identified in the reports. Others included:

  • beefing up dikes along the Assiniboine River east of Portage la Prairie,
  • investigating the feasibility of constructing a reservoir near Holland,
  • putting gates on the Shellmouth reservoir near the Saskatchewan border to improve water storage and control of that dam,
  • enhancing control structures on the Portage Diversion, and
  • building a controlled ‘wasteway’ or outlet channel on the Assiniboine River east of Portage.

"We do recognize that there were very significant impacts (in 2011) on Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin and it will be a priority to deal with that," Ashton told a news conference.

He also said that the government will take the Farlinger report’s recommendations on improved flood forecasting to heart.

The report recommended a full-time operations centre for flood forecasters and improvements data acquisition and management systems as well as an improved flood prediction model that adequately factors in rainfall during the spring melt.

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