RM of PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE — In a scene reminiscent of the construction of the Brunkild Z-Dike during the 1997 Red River flood, a long row of excavators and bulldozers is moving earth over several kilometres of the Portage Diversion.
Private contractors are building up the banks of the diversion, which carries Assiniboine River water north to Lake Manitoba, in an effort to allow it to carry more of the Assiniboine's flow.
The Portage Diversion was built to handle 25,000 cubic feet per second of water but will soon be needed to carry even more.
Another 18,000 cubic feet per second of the Assiniboine's flow is heading east toward Winnipeg right now. That flow will likely increase to 20,000 CFS even when the Hoop and Holler cut is made southeast of Portage la Prairie to allow some water to flow into the Elm River.
The work along the diversion also entails dropping rocks along a concrete spillway at Road 71 North. Without the rock, the spillway could fall apart.
Just west of the diversion, farmers have been told to expect to be flooded. One distraught cattle farmer was struggling to load is herd into trucks, with the help of friends and neighbours.