Farmers bracing for high water despite downgraded flood threat

By | April 15, 2019

Farmers in the Red River Valley continue to brace for high water despite a downgraded flood threat.

The Red is now expected to crest at levels lower than 2011.

A snow storm in North Dakota didn’t bring as much precipitation to the Red River Valley as anticipated but that doesn’t mean Manitoba’s in the clear.

Niverville farmer Kevin Stott said the Red River could still spill on up to a nearly one-third of his 2000 acres.

“There’ll be a little bit of water on the fields, around the yard here and the road would go under further down to the east in between here and Niverville…where you’d have to boat through it,” said Stott.

The Red River at St. Adolphe, which is near Stott’s farm, could reach more than 232 metres above sea level this spring. With a bankfull capacity of 230.90 metres, that’s almost two metres higher than what the river’s capable of holding but still lower than previous floods.

In 2011 the river peaked at 233.80 metres and in 2009, 234.45 metres.

University of Manitoba civil engineering professor Jay Doering said while the slow melt reduced the threat of a flood similar to 2009 that doesn’t mean there won’t be a flood.

“The reality is even at 2011 flood levels the Red will come out of its banks at Emerson, at Morris, at St. Adolphe and so there is an inconvenience to the residents of the Red River Valley,” said Doering.

The Red River Floodway was activated on Sunday.

The province forecasts peak river levels in Emerson between April 20-22 and April 26-28 in Winnipeg.