Dry weather helps contain deliberate Manitoba flood

Mon May 16, 2011 5:39pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Saturday's deliberate breach of a dike on Manitoba's Assiniboine River had caused floodwaters to surround only three homes by Monday as warm dry weather helped the Canadian Prairie province control the river's highest levels on record.

The intentional breach was meant to ease pressure on stressed dikes so that worse, unplanned flooding from a dike failure could be avoided. But the controlled resulting flow of water onto farmland has been slower than the Manitoba government had planned.

Officials estimate the flood will cover up to 72 square miles (180 square km) of land over the next few days, down from the 90 square miles they had estimated on Saturday. Much of that is rich farmland that usually grows wheat and vegetables.

The province had also said that 150 homes could be flooded.

"Yes, we've made a lot of progress over the last few days," said Steve Ashton, Manitoba's minister of infrastructure. "(But) there's no all-fair flood siren going out."

Across Manitoba, 3,600 people have been forced to leave their homes due to the threat of flooding.

All three homes in the intentionally flooded area east of Portage la Prairie have dikes that are holding back the water, said Steve Topping, an official at the government's water stewardship branch.

The Assiniboine was near its peak on Monday at Brandon, the province's second-biggest city, where at least 1,300 people have left their homes.

About 1,500 Canadian soldiers are helping local volunteers with sandbag operations.   Continued...