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News Releases

2004 News Releases

River levels to rise
City urges residents to take special precautions

WINNIPEG - May 17, 2004 - As a result of heavy rainfall in the Red River Basin, river levels are expected to rise an additional 0.6 meters (2 feet) in Winnipeg by May 21. River levels are already over 1 meter above normal in Winnipeg.

Recent rainfall accumulations of as much as 100 millimetres (4 inches) in the southern portions of the Red River basin are contributing to the rise.

Dave Wardrop, Field Service Operations Engineer with the City's Water and Waste Department says, "City crews are responding to the sudden rise in river levels by operating flood pumping stations and flood gates throughout the city".

Wardrop advises, "Residents who live along the river should move or secure any structures or equipment near the water's edge, such as docks, sheds, gazebos, irrigation pumps, and recreational equipment. The rising river level will affect each property owner differently. Each resident will have to determine how the rising river will impact their property, and take the necessary action to protect their belongings."

Recreational boaters, particularly canoes and other small craft, are urged to use extreme caution because of fast currents and an increased amount of debris in the rivers. Much of the debris is submerged, creating an unseen and extremely dangerous hazard for boaters. The combination of swift currents, and floating or submerged debris make conditions particularly dangerous at this time.

Wardrop urges, "Children should be reminded to keep away from all bodies of water, such as rivers, Stormwater Retention Basins (man made lakes), creeks, streams, and ditches. Due to the high currents, ditches can be particularly hazardous near road crossings where water flows through culverts." Parents and teachers are urged to warn children of the dangers of playing in or near water.

Wardrop says, "High river levels combined with heavy rainstorms that fall over short periods of time can overwhelm any city sewer system." Overloaded sewers can back up through house sewer lines and flow into basements that aren't protected.

Wardrop urges all homeowners to protect their homes from basement flooding by taking the following precautions:

  • Install a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system
  • Check and maintain your backwater valve and sump pit drainage system regularly
  • Improve drainage around your house

Throughout this week Canada Post is delivering the City of Winnipeg's brochure, Protect Your Home from Basement Flooding.

Mailed annually to Winnipeg homes, the brochure contains more information on these precautions. The brochure is also available at

For more information on the Basement Flooding Protection Program, or for a handout on the care and maintenance of sump pump drainage systems, residents can call 311.

For information on installing backwater valves and sump pits, residents can call the Planning, Property and Development Department at 311, or visit

Last update: 17.05.2004

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