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2004 News Releases

Impact of heavy rainfall

WINNIPEG - May 31, 2004 - Approximately 70 millimeters of rain has fallen in Winnipeg since Saturday, May 29. This rain, combined with even heavier rainfall in parts of the Red River Basin, has caused the river to rise approximately 5 feet above normal. The Red River in Winnipeg is expected to continue rising another 4 to 5 feet, to a level of 15 or 16 feet James Avenue Datum by next week.

Dave Wardrop, Field Service Operations Engineer with the City’s Water and Waste Department, 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. Rising river levels 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 reports the following:

  • The land drainage systems are functioning well. Although the water levels in the Stormwater Retention Basin levels have risen substantially, no properties are at immediate risk.
  • Flood pumping stations and floodgates have been activated throughout the city to protect against the rising river.
  • The sewer system is functioning as designed - to minimize the risk of basement flooding, the combined sewers overflow during heavy rainfall events. These overflows consist of wastewater diluted by rainfall runoff.
  • There have been 51 reports of basement flooding - 19 of clean water, and 32 with backed up wastewater. City crews respond to flooded basements as a first priority.
To ensure maximum protection against basement flooding, the City recommends homeowners take the following protective measures:
  • 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 - build up the ground so that water drains away from your basement, and extend downspouts so that water flows away from your house and doesn’t collect next to basement walls or basement windows or window wells.
If drainage problems pose a safety hazard, threaten damage to homes or businesses, or impede traffic, residents can call the Water and Waste Department Customer Service Centre at 311.


Last update: 31.05.2004

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