July 30, 2015


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Crest to hit Portage this evening

Water levels could threaten dikes along Assiniboine River

With dikes along the Assiniboine River holding and only sunny skies in the forecast for most of the next week, the chance of the province making a deliberate breach at the Hoop and Holler Bend decreases by the hour.

Provincial officials said today it’s now unlikely a controlled release will take place at Hoop and Holler Bend unless Assiniboine River dikes become stressed.

A heavy-equipment operator reinforces a dike on the Assiniboine River between St. Eustache and Portage la Prairie.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A heavy-equipment operator reinforces a dike on the Assiniboine River between St. Eustache and Portage la Prairie. Photo Store

The province deliberately flooded farmland at Hoop and Holler during the height of the 2011 flood, but that decision was made when rain was in the forecast and out of concern for the stability of the dike system. The amount of water released through the Hoop and Holler breach in 2011 was approximately 400 cubic feet per second from May 14 to 20, 2011.

Doug McNeil, deputy minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, said at a flood briefing today all dikes along the river are holding with only minor seepage.

Right now the river is handling the peak amount of 18,000 cubic feet per second of water, with the crest of the floodwaters now expected to hit the Portage Reservoir today between 6 p.m. and midnight. The projected inflow to the reservoir is now 51,600 cfs. What doesn’t go down the Assiniboine River towards Winnipeg will be directed up the Portage Diversion into Lake Manitoba.

Once the crest passes through the reservoir, levels are forecast to drop relatively quickly.

Levels are forecast to rise again next week as a second crest builds on the upper Assiniboine and Qu'Appelle Rivers. Water levels between the Shellmouth Reservoir on the upper Assiniboine and St. Lazare to the south will be higher than 2011 flood levels, the province says.

The province is to release a revised forecast on what the second crest means for southern Manitoba later today.

The province says floodwaters are the product of a month of rain that has seen a large portion of western Manitoba and Saskatchewan inundated with more than 200 per cent of normal rainfall. (See map here.)

The province has already said it is studying how to improve western Manitoba's flood defences, originally built in the 1960s and 1970s, to accommodate more water. Recommendations for the improvements came out of an April 2013 independent report that reviewed the province’s response to the 2011 report.

The province has a preliminary plan and was supposed to open the plan to public consultation this spring, but that was delayed because of the flood threat.

Public meetings will now be held this fall.

 

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2014 A3

Flood water covers the Assiniboine River Valley in Brandon on Saturday morning, hours ahead of the expected first crest.
Brandonites watch the flood waters of the Assiniboine River pour over 1st Street from the First Street Bridge on Saturday evening.
A look at the water levels along Twin Lakes Beach Sunday morning.
Soldiers from CFB Shilo and volunteers fill sandbags to protect Kevin Van Camp's home from flood waters near St. Francois Xavier Sunday afternoon.
Soldiers from CFB Shilo and volunteers help fortify Kevin Van Camp's home from flood water near St. Francois Xavier Sunday afternoon.
Kevin Van Camp's home with its protective sandbag walls near St. Francois Xavier Sunday afternoon.
Frank Renouf looks out the window of his niece's cottage. The cottage is protected by a tube dike that runs along the beach at Twin Lakes Beach. Some of the tubes have been damaged by ice from last winter and his family is concerned they won't hold in the coming weeks.
Adam Dalman ducks as water slams against the concrete foundation of his neighbors cottage that was destroyed in 2011.
Adam Dalman sits with some sandbags as he contemplates what he should do in the next week or so at Twin Lakes Beach.
Soldiers from CFB Shilo and volunteers help fortify Kevin Van Camp's home near St. Francois Xavier Sunday afternoon.
Joerg Zimmermann and his family prepare sandbags at their home in St. Francois Xavier, Man. Saturday. Military reservists have been shipped in to assist with flood preparation from Portage la Prairie to St. Francois Xavier.
Military reserves arrive at Southport, Man. Saturday to assist with flood preparation.
A sign taped to a door just south of the Hoop and Holler Bend, Man. welcomes the military Saturday.
Flood water covers the Assiniboine River Valley just east of Brandon on Saturday morning, hours ahead of the expected first crest.
A provincial crew take a break after filling and loading sandbags in 30C temperatures in Portage la Prairie, Man. Saturday.
Military from Shilo fill and load sandbags in Portage La Prairie, Man. Saturday.
Spectators and members of the media look out at the flood waters from the rising Assiniboine River covering 1st Street North in Brandon on Saturday morning.
A pair of scrap trucks sit in the deep waters of the Souris River in Melita Friday.
A woman looks at the rising waters at Plumb Creek, which feeds into the Souris River, in Souris' Victoria Park Friday morning.
A bridge was completely washed away after this week's flooding on Highway 445 in Melita.
History

Updated on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 1:50 PM CDT: Updates with full write-thru; changes headline.

2:52 PM: Updates with full write-thru.

5:41 PM: Adds Red Cross information.

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