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Issues surrounding the Red River Flood of 1997 PowerPoint Presentation
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Issues surrounding the Red River Flood of 1997

Issues surrounding the Red River Flood of 1997

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Issues surrounding the Red River Flood of 1997

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Presentation Transcript

  1. Issues surrounding the Red River Flood of 1997

  2. Outline • Introduction • Impacts of the flood • Flood protection works • Manitoba Water Commission (MWC) • Current status • Next steps

  3. Introduction • Many factors combined to create the “Flood of the Century” • Above normal fall precipitation • Long, cold winter with near record snowfall • A major blizzard in early April added to the moisture and delayed the runoff • Flooding started in the US portion of the watershed and headed North

  4. Impacts of the Flood • Damages in the Canadian portion of the watershed totalled nearly $500 million • Losses in the US portion were even larger (for example, the community of Grand Forks) • At the peak of the event, nearly 28,000 Manitobans were evacuated from the flood zone • Many houses experienced extensive damages • Many residents were out of their homes for an extended period of time

  5. Flood Protection Works • The City of Winnipeg is protected by the Red River Floodway • Diverts water around the city • Further protection is provided by infrastructure on the Assiniboine River • Areas south of the city are protected by ring dikes around towns • Areas outside the ring dike communities rely on individual dikes

  6. Manitoba Water Commission • Was reconstituted following the 1997 flood to provide an independent review of activities during the flood event • Terms of reference included providing recommendations on: • The operation of flood control infrastructure • How the pattern of roads and railways affected runoff flow patterns • The level of preparedness of provincial and municipal governments • The accuracy and timeliness of flood forecasts

  7. Activities of the MWC • Learning process and familiarization with flood infrastructure • Public meetings at 10 locations throughout the valley totalling more than 40 hours of consultations • Technical investigations • Hired a consultant from out of province to do some modelling work • Reviewed reports prepared on behalf of interest groups • Final report submitted in July of 1998 • Contained 58 recommendations

  8. Issues presented to the MWC • Floodway was not operated in accordance with the rules of operation • Need for consultation in any changes to the rules • Impacts of the west dike and west dike extension • Lack of planning and inadequate level of emergency preparedness

  9. Issues presented to the MWC • Concerns over the mandatory evacuation order • Confusion over various disaster assistance programs and changes to the compensation policy • Lack of confidence in the forecasting • Insufficient warning provided of high water levels

  10. Outcome of Studies • The water levels during the 1997 flood were as much as 0.6 meters above “natural” levels • The magnitude of the increase was greatest in the vicinity of the floodway and was negligible around Morris • Ste. Agathe was flooded by overland flows from the west • The town would have flooded under natural conditions

  11. Outcome of Studies • Flooding in the Grande Pointe area can be attributed to backwater effects from the Red River • Road cuts had a limited and localized effect on water levels

  12. Recommendations from the MWC • Revision of floodway operation policy should be conducted in consultation with all impacted groups • Formal maintenance program for all flood protection infrastructure • Risk analysis study to form the basis of flood planning and flood proofing • Modelling to be use to determine the impact of all planned infrastructure

  13. Recommendations from the MWC • Development of an effective means of communicating flood forecasts • An integrated flood plan be developed • Floodplain zoning be reviewed and flood protection levels enforced

  14. Current Status • Provincial government increased compensation levels following the release of the MWC report • Still resulted in some residents having uncompensated losses • Province acted on some of the recommendations and indicated some required further study

  15. Current Status • MWC was disbanded • Unfortunately, there was not a mechanism in place to ensure follow-up on recommendations • A task force of the International Joint Commission (IJC) conducted studies of issues on both sides of the border • This activity ceased when the US decided not to fund this further

  16. Current Status • In 1999, a group of around 50 residents in the flooded area sued the provincial government for damages resulting from the operation of the floodway • Used the MWC report as part of the evidence of wrongdoing by the province • As a result of legal moves by the province, Don Burn became involved as an expert witness on behalf of the residents

  17. Current Status • The law suit dragged on for some time • The expert witness went to Winnipeg to be cross-examined by lawyers for the province in the summer of 2002 • The province hired a local consultant as their own expert witness • In November of 2003, the province asked the residents to settle by meditation • Most residents had settled their claims by spring of 2004

  18. Next Steps • The province is planning to expand the capacity of the floodway • The expanded floodway will increase the capacity from 2,550 m3/s to 4,000 m3/s • The project will involve the excavation of more than 30 million cubic metres of earth • Upgrades and improvements to twelve bridge crossings, the outlet structure, the West Dike, utilities and drainage services will all be required • Total cost is projected to be $700 Million

  19. Next Steps • The province recently passed legislation designed to provide compensation for artificial flooding caused by the operation of the floodway • Public consultations were held during the development of the legislation

  20. Next Steps • As part of the future plans, the province commissioned a study to determine the natural flows on the Red River • This will be used as a basis for determining amounts of compensation in the case of artificial flooding

  21. Postscript • The Fall of 2004 has been one of the wettest on record in Manitoba • If you live in Manitoba, hope for a dry winter!