Archived News Releases

Media Bulletin - Manitoba

May 14, 2011


Flood Response

Controlled Release

  • The controlled release through the Assiniboine River dike started this morning at 7 a.m.  Water began spilling through the release point at approximately 8 a.m.
  • Crews reviewed the plan and safety procedures at 6 a.m.  At 7 a.m., two back-hoes on the east and west side opened the release point.  As the release point was opened, water from the Assiniboine River flowed towards the spill point at the oxbow.    
  • At 9 a.m. today, the Assiniboine River downstream of the Portage Diversion was at 18,250 cubic feet per second (cfs).
  • At 11 a.m., an adjustment was made at the Portage Diversion’s river control structure to increase flows to 18,500 cfs into the river.
  • At 12:30 p.m., the flows at the controlled release were 340 cfs, resulting in the Assiniboine River flows downstream of the release point holding at around 18,000 cfs.
  • Steps will be taken to gradually increase the release flow rate to 500 cfs over the course of the day. 
  • A further increase in the controlled release will be considered tomorrow morning.
  • So far, the water from the controlled release point has travelled approximately two kilometres and surrounded two properties that had flood-protection systems in place.
  • Flows on the Assiniboine River into the Portage Reservoir were measured at 52,000 cfs this morning.  The Portage Diversion flow is 33,900 cfs at this time.  The condition of the dikes along the Portage Diversion is being continually monitored. 
  • Water levels are being continuously monitored at the release point, along the river and at the Portage Diversion.  The site of the release is also being monitored and will be reinforced as needed.
  • A north-south municipal mile road southeast of the controlled release site was cut to help the flow find the shortest path to the Elm River. 
  • Flows are expected to disperse slowly across fields and then fill behind roads and spill at low points along roads and ultimately spill into the La Salle River.  The overland flows will collect in two major tributaries of the La Salle River known as the Elm River channel and the Scott Coulee.  The Elm River channel enters the La Salle system 3.2 km south of Elie and the Scott Coulee enters the La Salle River eight km south and 3.2 km east of Elie.  Due to the backwater effect, levels in the La Salle River at Elie will be elevated, affecting the southern portion of the community to an estimated two feet in depth.  It is expected that water will take seven to eight days to reach Elie.
  • Residents in the immediate area of the release point have already been evacuated and their properties have flood-protection systems in place.
  • The controlled release is designed to relieve pressure on the Assiniboine River and Portage Diversion channel dikes which are under heavy stress from river flows.  The dikes are being continuously monitored and repaired on an ongoing basis.
  • As a result of additional data from surveys, forecasters and engineers have been able to reduce the expected size of the area affected by the conditional release to 180 square kilometres, down from earlier projections of 225 sq. km.  An area of 1,360 sq. km could be at risk from an uncontrolled dike breach that could discharge up to 10 times as much water as the controlled release.  The controlled release is within the much larger area that would be at risk of flooding by an uncontrolled breach.   There are new maps which show this online.
  • The Manitoba government is developing a special program to provide comprehensive compensation for homeowners and producers affected by the controlled spill.
  • Survey crews have been working through the area in the past several days providing residents in the controlled release area with elevations to guide the installation of protective dikes to protect homes and property.  Flood liaison offices have also been fielding approximately 100 calls per day to provide residents with information about flood protection levels.
  • Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) has contacted livestock producers in the area affected by the controlled release to provide support and help producers develop plans. 


  • Work is continuing to progress along First Street to reinforce the dikes and maintain the road.  It may open to limited traffic next week.
  • The dikes are being checked and monitored on a 24-7 basis and are holding well.
  • There are 1,355 people evacuated within the city of Brandon.

 Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin

  • As previously forecast, water levels on Lake Manitoba are rising and will be high for most of this year with the peak expected in June.
  • The Portage Diversion has been channelling water into Lake Manitoba at the same time the Fairford Dam has been operating at full capacity and channelling water out of the lake and into Lake St. Martin.  At this time, Lake Manitoba remains below the natural levels that would occur if the Fairford Dam and the Portage Diversion were not in place.
  • The operation of the Fairford Dam to divert flows from Lake Manitoba is having a significant impact on water levels on Lake St. Martin which causes serious flooding concerns for the Lake St. Martin, Little Saskatchewan and Pinaymootang (Fairford) First Nations.
  • Lake Winnipegosis through the Waterhen and the Whitemud rivers also contribute to flows on Lake Manitoba and all of these water systems have extremely high flow volumes this year.
  • Flood-protection efforts are underway around both Lake St. Martin and the Little Saskatchewan First Nations to build permanent dikes to 809 feet to deal with the additional flows coming from Lake Manitoba via the Fairford Dam.  Roads are also being protected against rising Lake St. Martin waters.  Approximately 30 homes are being sandbagged at the Pinaymootang (Fairford) First Nation.
  • Additional work on Lake Manitoba includes a 10-km permanent ring dike at the Lake Manitoba First Nation and a four-km permanent dike at the Sandy Bay First Nation.
  • Sandbags and other equipment continue to be sent into lake areas to assist with flood protection including the Delta Beach cottage area and further around the lake to Lundar Beach.

Other Areas

  • There are approximately 1,500 Canadian Forces personnel in Manitoba to assist with flood-fighting efforts.  Most are concentrated on reinforcing and monitoring the dikes along the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie to Headingley.
  • The provincial government is also calling in seasonal workers early to support flood-fighting efforts.
  • An additional 85 people have been evacuated from the Little Saskatchewan First Nation and the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters (MANFF) has co-ordinated the evacuation of 124 people from the community.  There are also 424 people evacuated from the Lake St. Martin First Nation.
  • Supplies have been requested from the federal government and the Pinaymootang (Fairford) First Nation to set up a congregate or group facility for evacuees.  The provincial government has provided significant supplies, such as cots, linens and blankets. 
  • Most people evacuate to friends or family, or can report into a reception centre.  The centre will provide assistance with housing, financial supports, mental-health/stress management and other supports evacuees require.  Reception centres are currently located in Portage la Prairie and Brandon.
  • The City of Winnipeg is running five sandbagging machines with city crews to support flood-fighting efforts west of the city.
  • There are 3,383 people evacuated from their homes across Manitoba.

Flood-fighting Volunteering

  • Volunteers can contact the RM of Portage la Prairie at 204-857-4439 or 204-857-3821; and the RM of Headingley at 204-837-5766.
  • Volunteers are needed closer to Lake Manitoba and can contact the RM of St. Laurent at
    204-646-2259, the RM of Woodlands at 204-383-5679 and the RM of Coldwell (Lundar) at
  • Volunteers in Brandon can call 204-729-2293 or 204-729-2186.
  • Volunteers for the Delta Beach area can call 204-997-4601 and, in Oakville, the contact is

Flood Forecast Summary

  • Moderate north to northeast winds at 15 to 30 km/h are forecast for today in the Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, Lake St. Martin, the Shoal Lakes and Dauphin Lake area resulting in a reduction of wind setup, wave action and flooding that occurred yesterday.  Winds will shift to south on Monday between 20 and 35 km/h.
  • Generally sunny conditions are forecast for all regions to Monday.  There is a small chance of showers on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Yorkton area.  Other areas can expect sunny conditions to the end of the week.
  • Flood warnings have been issued for the Assiniboine River at all points downstream of the Shellmouth Dam; streams and rivers in the Dauphin Lake Basin; streams and rivers east of the Duck Mountains; the Souris River from Melita and all downstream reaches; Pipestone Creek, all reaches; Oak Lake and Plum Lakes, Plum Creek to the Souris River (including the town of Souris); and the Qu’Appelle River in the St-Lazare area.
  • A high water advisory is in place for all major lakes in Manitoba and the community of Red Deer Lake.

Assiniboine River

  • Water levels on the Shellmouth Reservoir are 1,414.29 ft., decreasing 0.09 ft. since yesterday.  Inflow into the Shellmouth Reservoir is approximately 10,110 cfs.  The Shellmouth Dam will be operated to maintain outflows below 11,000 cfs today.  The outflow was measured at 10,650 cfs this morning.  Flows through the conduit were decreased by 1,000 cfs as part of an operational plan to allow Shellmouth outflows to decrease crests downstream on the Assiniboine River to Brandon and Portage la Prairie.   
  • Water levels on the Qu’Appelle River at Welby decreased 0.27 ft. since yesterday to 17.98 ft.  Flows on the Qu’Appelle River reached 10,800 cfs yesterday.
  • Water levels at St-Lazare are 1,289.61 ft.  St-Lazare’s community flood-protection level is 1,295.34 ft.
  • Miniota’s water levels have decreased 0.05 ft. since yesterday to 1,247.29 ft.  Flows at Miniota were estimated at 29,000 cfs.
  • Water levels at Sioux Valley are 1,204 ft., increasing 0.15 ft. since yesterday.  Dikes at the Sioux Valley First Nation are providing flood protection to 1,207 ft. 
  • Water levels on the Assiniboine River at the First Street Bridge in Brandon were 1,182.50 ft., showing no change since yesterday.  Flows at the First Street Bridge in Brandon were 35,000 cfs, as measured this morning. 
  • Forecasters are estimating flows may increase to 37,000 and 39,000 cfs and between 1,183.4 to 1,183.8 ft. at the First Street Bridge in Brandon between May 16 and 18.  It is estimated that flows on the Assiniboine River at Brandon will be sustained for a long period of time.
  • Flows in the Portage Diversion channel this morning were at 33,900 cfs.  Inflow upstream of Portage la Prairie is 52,000 cfs.  Due to the operation of the bascule gates, flows on the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and the controlled release point will increase to 18,500 cfs from 18,100 cfs today.  Downstream of the release point, river flows will be maintained at 18,000 cfs.
  • Flows on the Assiniboine River at Holland are 48,700 cfs today.
  • Forecasters are estimating that inflows into the Portage Reservoir will reach 54,000 cfs, with flows anticipated to reach the reservoir on or around May 17 to 19.  To manage these flows, Manitoba Water Stewardship will direct as much as possible through the Portage Diversion, up to
    34,000 cfs. 
  • Monitoring of release flows at the point of the controlled release is underway and will be reported daily.  At 12:30 p.m. today, the release flow was 340 cfs.
  •  Dikes along both sides of the Portage Diversion channel have undergone significant reinforcing.  These improvements have increased the capacity of the channel to around 34,000 cfs.  The dikes along the Portage Diversion channel are continually being monitored and reinforced to sustain the maximum possible flow.Manitoba Water Stewardship has created maps which indicate the area of risk for both an uncontrolled and controlled release of water from the Assiniboine River.  A map has also been created illustrating the flooded area at the north end of the Portage Diversion channel.  Maps can be found at
  • Water levels in the Baie St. Paul area are 800.21 ft.  Water levels in the Lido Plage area increased 0.03 ft. to 780.51 ft.

Red River

  • Water levels just upstream of the Red River floodway inlet decreased 0.31 ft. since yesterday to 762.69 ft., with flows of 65,200 cfs.  Flows in the floodway are approximately 30,200 cfs.  Red River flows upstream of the floodway inlet are now decreasing by about 2,000 cfs per day.
  • Water levels on the Red River at James Avenue in Winnipeg have decreased 0.21 ft. since yesterday to 18.63 ft.  Flows at James Avenue this morning were approximately 54,500 cfs. 
  • Flows entering the La Salle River watershed from the controlled release will be increasing to
    500 cfs today, then gradually increased to around 2,000 cfs. 
  • The capacity of the La Salle River near the communities of La Salle, Sanford and Starbuck is generally in the order of 4,000 cfs.  Approximately 380 cfs is flowing in the La Salle River system today. 
  • The La Salle River is a tributary which flows into the Red River downstream of the floodway inlet.  It is anticipated the arrival of the additional flows from the La Salle River will not increase the water level at James Avenue. Levels at James Avenue and upstream of the floodway inlet will continue to decline.  However, this reduction will be slowed by the increased flows from the La Salle. 

Souris River

  • As a result of rain and increased run-off in southeast Saskatchewan and near capacity reservoirs, releases into the Souris River have increased, contributing approximately 7,300 cfs to the Souris River.  These flows will take approximately four weeks (subject to weather conditions) to reach Manitoba and are expected to extend the duration of high flows on the Souris River but are unlikely in increase water level above what has been seen in previous peaks.
  • Water levels at Melita are 1,409.96 ft. today, decreasing 0.03 ft. since yesterday. 
  • Water levels in Oak Lake are 1,412.17 ft.  Water levels on Plum Creek have decreased 0.17 ft. since yesterday to 1,377.35 ft.
  • The Souris River at Wawanesa is estimated near crest at 15,700 cfs today with a water level of 1,156.43 ft. 

Dauphin Lake, Swan Lake and Lake Winnipegosis Basins

  • Since yesterday, water level changes at tributaries in the Swan Lake, Dauphin Lake and Lake Winnipegosis Basins include:
    • the Roaring River decreased 1.83 ft.;
    • the Swan River decreased 0.99 ft.;
    • Wilson Creek decreased one ft.;
    • the Turtle River decreased 1.15 ft.;
    • the Ochre River decreased 0.56 ft.; and
    • the Valley River decreased 0.65 ft.


  • Lake levels have reached or are approaching flood stage at many Manitoba lakes.  Lakes above flood stage or are flooding due to persistent north winds include both basins of Lake Manitoba, Oak Lake, Lake St. Martin, Lake Pineimuta, Dauphin Lake, Lake Frances, North, East and West Shoal Lakes, Dennis Lake, Fish Lake, and other lakes throughout the Interlake and south-central part of Manitoba.
  • Due to these high water levels, Manitoba Water Stewardship has created inundation maps illustrating the forecast high water levels for many inhabited areas around Lake Manitoba.  Two sets of mapsare or will be available that illustrate wind-eliminated and winds set-up (for 50 km/h sustained winds, from directions which would result in maximum set-up) for the following areas:
    • Alonsa,
    • Coldwell,
    • the Crane River First Nation,
    • the Dog Creek First Nation,
    • the Ebb and Flow First Nation,
    • Eriksdale,
    • Grahamdale,
    • Lakeview,
    • Portage la Prairie,
    • the Sandy Bay First Nation,
    • Siglunes,
    • St. Laurent,
    • Westbourne,
    • Woodlands, and
    • unorganized territory on the north end of Lake Manitoba
  • Manitoba Water Stewardship is creating more maps for the Lake St. Martin and Lake Pineimuta area that will be made available as soon as possible.
  • The risk of shoreline ice pileup today is low on all assessed lakes.

For more information, please see find the most up-to-date highway information at or 1-877-MBRoads (1-877-627-6237) and on Twitter by following @MBGov.

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