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Flood Planning Q & A

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How do you determine the level of flood preparation and response required?

Updated forecasts are provided by the Province routinely until the flood event passes. We calculate the implications of each update and adjust the level of response required accordingly.

  • Based on the flows for the Red and Assiniboine Rivers forecasted by the Province, we calculate river levels throughout Winnipeg and determine the level of protection required.
  • We use the “Flood Manual” to help us determine the measures required to protect the City’s wastewater system and the properties at risk.
What is the flood forecast for Winnipeg?

The March 2013 flood outlook issued by the Province indicates an upper-decile condition (i.e., 10% chance) of 20.5 feet James Avenue, which is similar to the level experienced in 2011.

Current river levels

What is the Flood Manual?

The Flood Manual is a sophisticated, geographic information system-based (GIS) computer program that:

  • is linked to our geographic information system containing records of our sewer system,
  • is linked to document databases containing property information, specific flood protection plans, and information (e.g., reports, photographs) on how properties were protected in 1997 and in other years,
  • is updated each year in light of new experience and changes in the system,
  • is a tool that engineers use to input river flows and/or river levels to predict impacts within the city,
  • calculates the activities required to protect Winnipeg against predicted levels,
  • is our source of information to notify external agencies and property owners of river levels and the corresponding actions they need to take to protect private properties
How many homes need dikes to protect against the rising river?

At this point, we have identified 26 properties that will require sandbag dikes. This will require 32,000 sandbags in total. Property owners will be individually notified.

Will my basement flood this spring?

Most homes in Winnipeg will be protected from river flooding by dikes and sewer controls.

However, during heavy rain, there is a very high risk of overloaded sewers backing up through house sewer lines and flowing into basements that aren’t protected. The risk increases with high river levels because the sewer system must then rely more heavily on pumping stations rather than gravity to carry the rainfall runoff.

When our City wastewater and land drainage systems are overwhelmed, your home could be at risk of basement flooding. There are steps you can take to protect your home:

  • Arrange for a licensed plumber to install a backwater valve on a sewer line in the basement of your home. This device, if properly installed, automatically closes if sewage backs up from the main sewer.
  • Install a sump pit drainage system (includes a sump pit, a sump pump and a pump discharge pipe).
  • Check and maintain your backwater valve and sump pit drainage system regularly.
  • Build up the ground around your house so that water flows away from your basement walls and window wells.
  • Extend downspouts so that water flows away from your home or building.

Protect your home from basement flooding

What else can homeowners do to protect their properties from overland flooding?

Winnipeg residents can pick up sandbags at the following three locations between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily:

  • 1220 Pacific Avenue (West End)
  • 849 Ravelston Avenue West (Transcona)
  • 1539 Waverley Street (Fort Garry)

For emergencies, sandbags to protect against overland flooding are available outside the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. by contacting 311. Identification showing Winnipeg residency is required in order to pick up sandbags.

What is the sump pump/backup valve subsidy program?
I'll need to build a dike around my house. How can I get help?

As the homeowner, you are responsible to dike your home, but we will provide:

  • surveying and staking (for dike alignment) on your property,
  • the required number of filled sandbags and plastic sheeting,
  • instructions on how to build a dike, and
  • technical support.

Building a Dike

What if I notice my neighbour's property being "staked" or marked for a dike, but there are none on my property?

Not every house on a street will require a dike. Each yard differs slightly in elevation and quite often these slight differences can determine who needs a dike and who doesn't. If you are not contacted, your property has not been identified as being at risk of river flooding.

Where can I get more information?

You can check:

We will be communicating directly with property owners that require protection from river flooding

Last update: December 2, 2016