Manitoba’s rivers are rising again.
Premier Greg Selinger declared a provincial state of emergency on July 4 for the RMs of Cartier, St. François Xavier, Headingley, Portage la Prairie and the city of Portage la Prairie. Doing enabled the province to prepare for extensive flooding along the Assiniboine River.
According to information from the provincial government, property owners along the river should prepare for a water level as high as the peak 2011 spring flood level plus one foot.
The Assiniboine is expected to remain at this level for at least three weeks before slowly receding.
Selinger also requested the help of the Canadian Forces to reinforce and raise dikes along the Assiniboine from the Portage Diversion to Headingley.
"We think we’ve got about 10 properties that will be affected," RM of Headingley mayor Wilf Taillieu said on July 4. "We’re getting prepared with equipment and sandbags."
Taillieu expects 50,000 sandbags will be filled using a machine on loan from the provincial government.
RM of Cartier reeve Roland Rasmussen said at-risk properties have been identified and the municipality is readying pumps and other equipment.
According to a bulletin issued by the provincial government on July 3, the Assiniboine River was flowing at a rate of over 23,490 cubic feet per second (CFS) above the Portage Diversion, and the diversion was redirecting 12,990 cfs into Lake Manitoba.
However, the Assiniboine River at the Portage Reservoir is forecast to peak at 48,000 to 52,000 cfs.
This will result in increased flow up to 18,000 cfs along the lower Assiniboine for an extended period. That rate of flow is equivalent to the rate during the 2011 spring flood.
Property owners along parts of the Assiniboine River experienced temporary flooding from about May 23 to 25 when the river flow increased to 12,000 cfs before more water was sent through the Portage Diversion. The Welcomestop campground situated next to the Assiniboine River in St. Francois Xavier was forced to close half of its site when flooding began in the evening of May 23, owner Has Koria said.
He and the owners of other at-risk properties in the RM of St. François Xavier are being notified about impending flooding, said reeve Roger Poitras.
"We’ve contacted directly some of those people who we know will be impacted," he said.
SFX council met on July 3 and 4 to discuss flood preparations. Poitras said the municipality would start to use a sandbagging machine on July 5 that can produce between 4,000 and 5,000 bags a day. The bags will be placed around approximately 15 homes identified as at highest risk of flooding.
After the 2011 flood, Poitras said the municipality has gained knowledge about the most vulnerable areas.
"At least we now have more experience," he said.
"But in 2011, we had four months to prepare (for flooding), and now we’ve just got a few days," he added.
SFX residents can sign up for email updates through the municipality’s website at http://www.rm-stfrancois.mb.ca
Information on flooding in the RM of Cartier is available at http://www.rm-cartier.mb.ca and in the RM of Headingley at http://www.rmofheadingley.ca