Thankfully, no lives were lost as a result of the May 31, 2011, flood disaster and again in the storm at Twin Lakes Beach on Sunday, July 29. It is becoming more painfully clear, however, that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb and the major ingredients to this future disaster are winds and the level of Lake Manitoba.
Nothing, to my knowledge, can be done to control wind events. The same cannot be said about water levels.
A year after the 2011 flood, Lake Manitoba is still in flood stage, well over two feet above the target level of 811.5 feet above sea level set when the operating range of 810.5 to 812.5 was established in 2003.
That the lake is down from the historic high of more than 817 feet last July is primarily due to evaporation and relatively dry conditions. The emergency channel created last fall did allow water to flow from the Fairford Control Structure all winter but the decline in the level since has been very, very slow.
It is my understanding the channel is no longer being used. However, what if those winds (reports up to 150 kilometres per hour) on Sunday persisted for a couple of hours? All properties would once again be under water and all restoration efforts to date would be seen as useless. We would be hearing the declaration of the Flood of 2012 when the Flood of 2011 has not been called off yet.
We have presented to the Lake Manitoba Regulation Review Committee scientific and factual data regarding lake levels and the scientific data on the probability of windstorms.
In your July 30 story Massive storm cuts a swath of destruction, Ronald Stewart, atmospheric physicist at the University of Manitoba, is quoted as saying Sunday's storm is a harbinger of worse to come.
Obviously, for the residents of Twin Lakes Beach, this is not a confidence builder for reinvestment and restoration.
The solution is simple: Don't demand properties and structures need to be raised to dizzying heights. Just lower the lake and let nature restore the shoreline buffer and berm that protected us since the 1950 flood.
It is a fact natural restoration or rebuilding is the opposite of erosion. Nature knows how to heal itself, but government refusal to listen and to heed these warnings prevents nature from doing so.
It is a great example of a lack of stewardship.
Dennis Turek is chairman of the Twin Lakes Beach Flood Action Committee.