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Manitoba Deliberately Floods Over 100 Homes To Avert Worse Destruction

Manitoba Deliberately Floods Over 100 Homes To Avert Worse Destruction

We all believed that Manitoba’s Flood Of the Century was in May of 1997, when flooding along the Red River Valley spread several kilometers inland and caused $3.5 billion in damages.

It appears, then, that 2011 brings the floods of the “new” century to Manitoba.

Heavy rains and spring runoff have caused water levels to reach new highs all across the southern Manitoba region.  Manitoba has been preparing for expected floods for months. Finally, after monitoring expected water levels particularly closely over the last several days, officials finally decided to punch a hole in the dike just east of Portage La Prairie at Hoop and Holler bend – selected because of the slow speed of the water at this oxbow bend — in order to intentionally flood a specific area and avert an almost certain unintentional breach downstream that could be catastrophic in more heavily populated areas. 

Approximately 500 cubic feet of water per second have been pouring through the breach approximately 260 miles north of Fargo, N.D., since yesterday morning — the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool of water every three minutes. The water is slowly spreading across the flat Manitoba farmland, proceeding at a stately but inexorable pace towards over 100 homes in an approximately 180 square kilometer area at risk. The government is promising that those who have been washed out by the intentional flooding will be well compensated.

The Assiniboine river is expected to crest later this week. 1,300 people have already been evacuated from low-lying areas surrounding Brandon, Manitoba as a precautionary measure.  Armed forces troops are still shoring up dikes at more than 17 weakened locations along the river, hoping the measures will save the rest of the region from flooding.

So far it appears only one death has resulted from the flooding.

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Photo credit: loozrboy on Flickr

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9:42PM PDT on May 19, 2011

I hope THAT guy gets a good payout, just for bein so unlucky...

9:40PM PDT on May 19, 2011

Wheeew, that was a close one, only one house surrounded by water.

9:31AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Sad about it

4:15AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Another heart breaking story but again, thankfully no human life was lost. Hopefully wildlife made it to higher ground. Mother Nature sure is saying something. The shame is, we're not really listening to the bigger message. We're just dealing with the immediate problem. It really makes me so sad and mad that the people who have the power to effect the kind of change necessary don't get it.

12:57PM PDT on May 18, 2011

And people still believe that we do not have climate change????

8:36AM PDT on May 18, 2011


7:37AM PDT on May 18, 2011

I suppose the everglades have to have somewhere to go! seems the whole world is shifting to me. strange, we witness our world evolving and we call it chaos just because it's changing and we can't stop it, mother earth is stronger then all of us and will do what she feels is necessary to save herself.

9:31PM PDT on May 17, 2011

I don't know much about water management; but I know something similar was done to create the Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts, which helps prevent water shortage and floods outside the region. A whole town was flooded to build the reservoir. I don't know whether people were fairly paid for their displacement, but the Quabbin is an important safeguard against disaster for us all, throughout the state.

At the other extreme, some places in the world that have not managed their flooding or drinking water very well are actually buying up poor people's clean water in other countries, leaving the locals with nothing to drink. That's not just China--there are locals cut off from their own water supplies by corporations in parts of the Dakotas in the U.S., I understand.

I hope people wise up and start taking care of this earth where we have to live, and each other.

5:04PM PDT on May 17, 2011

I feel bad for the people whose houses will be flooded (if not here then in other parts of the world where the rivers are in danger of overflowing)- too bad there isn't any other way to divert the water.

4:30PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Temperance don't post paranoid junk on here.

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