Archived News Releases

Media Bulletin - Manitoba

May 15, 2011


Flood Response

Controlled Release

  • Approximately 400 cubic feet per second (cfs) is flowing through the release point.  The water is making its way to the Elm River channel, as expected.  This channel will eventually flow into the La Salle River.  Even though more water is coming down the Assiniboine River, water levels downstream of the controlled release have not risen. 
  • Water from the release point has travelled approximately 3.2 kilometres to the south and approximately 1.6 km east.  So far, approximately three homes have been surrounded and all had flood-protection systems in place.
  • Staff and equipment are following the water as it moves through the controlled release zone and other crews are staying ahead of the water to provide flood protection as needed, with military support.
  • All residents in the controlled release zone have been provided information about the flow and depth of water they can expect from the release, and what levels to protect to in setting up flood protection.  The affected zone is now expected to be somewhat smaller at 180 square kilometres instead of 225 sq. km.  Homes that could be affected by flows from the release point have been or will be provided with flood-protection systems.  The Manitoba government is also working with local Hutterite colonies in the area to assist with their flood protection and the colonies have also been providing support to overall flood-protection efforts in the area.  The controlled release area is within the much-larger area that would be at risk of flooding by an uncontrolled breach and the risk area is seven times larger than the controlled release area.
  • Residents in the area of the controlled release are being contacted by phone or door-to-door teams to provide information and answer questions.  A call centre made up of government staff has been established to regularly contact residents in the area.  So far, 300 calls have been made.  Residents can also call 204-945-7200.
  • There are approximately 150 people evacuated from the RM of Portage la Prairie, from the area around the controlled release.
  • Extensive work has been done at the Portage Diversion and channel including reinforcing the dikes and structures.  Maintenance work undertaken in the fall increased the ability of the diversion and channel to handle more flows, relieving some of the pressure on the Assiniboine River dikes.  The controlled release is designed to take additional pressure off both the Portage Diversion and the Assiniboine River dikes.

Controlled Release Flood Forecast

  • Flows into the Portage Reservoir are forecast to crest around May 17 to 18 at 52,000 to
    54,000 cfs.  The controlled release flow from the Assiniboine River may be increased in the coming days to partially offset this crest.  River conditions will be closely monitored for flow adjustments of the controlled release.
  • Today, inflow upstream of Portage la Prairie was 51,570 cfs.  Flows in the Portage Diversion channel this morning were at 33,020 cfs.  Flows on the Assiniboine River at the Portage Reservoir control gates were 18,550 cfs.
  • At the current release flow of less than 500 cfs, once the flows are in the Elm River channel, the majority of water should be being carried in the Elm River channel with some localized flooding along the channel.  At a 2,000 cfs flow rate, it is estimated that water will reach the La Salle River in six days. 
  • The overland flows will collect in two major tributaries of the La Salle, the Elm River channel and the Scott Coulee.  Flows from the controlled release will enter the La Salle River 3.2 km south (downstream) of Elie.  Due to a 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.
  • Water will reach the communities of La Salle, Sanford and Starbuck after Elie.  Flows from the controlled release will likely be reduced due to pooling behind roads.  It is anticipated that La Salle, Sanford and Starbuck could see flows up to the range of 1,500 to 2,500 cfs from the controlled release, in addition to the flows of approximately 500 cfs already in the river.  The river in this area has the capacity to carry 4,000 cfs.  Weather conditions could affect flows in the area.
  • Flood-protection maps showing the impact of up to 4,000 cfs flows are available online for La Salle, Sanford, Starbuck, the La Salle River south of PTH 2 and the La Salle River southeast of Sanford.  The maps show that at this or lower cfs flows, these communities will experience limited effects in most areas.  The communities have undertaken precautionary flood-protection measures. 
  • 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.  In Winnipeg, 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. 

 PTH 75 and Red River Valley

  • The ring dike closures in the communities of St. Jean Baptiste and Morris in the Red River valley are being removed over the next two to three days.
  • As a result, PTH 75 will be open to traffic on Tuesday morning.  PTH 75 was closed on April 18.
  • PR 246 at St. Jean Baptiste will also be opened today.
  • Closures at the railway crossings in Morris are expected to be opened in the next few days.

Other Areas

  • There are currently 1,500 Canadian Forces personnel flood-fighting in the province, primarily around the Assiniboine River dikes. 
  • Around Lake Manitoba, a provincial sandbag machine is working at St. Laurent to produce sandbags.  Provincial seasonal crews are also being brought in to assist with sandbagging efforts around Lake Manitoba.  All six sandbag machines are working around the province.
  • Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives has been in contact with livestock producers in the controlled release zone and are in daily contact with commodity groups about the progress and impact of the flood.
  • There are 3,603 Manitobans evacuated from their homes.  People who have evacuated are encouraged to register with the Canadian Red Cross at 1-888-662-3211.  Services such as financial support and mental-health/stress management services are also available at reception centres located in Brandon and Portage la Prairie.

Flood Forecast Summary

  • 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 has been issued for all major lakes in Manitoba and the community of Red Deer Lake.

Assiniboine River

  • Water levels on the Shellmouth Reservoir are 1,414.20 ft., decreasing 0.09 ft. since yesterday.  Inflow into the Shellmouth Reservoir has decreased to 9,795 cfs, and outflow decreased to
    10,430 cfs.  Outflows from the Shellmouth Dam continue to decline.  An operational plan to reduce Shellmouth outflows will minimize crests downstream on the Assiniboine River to Brandon and Portage la Prairie
  • Water levels on the Qu’Appelle River at Welby decreased 0.10 ft. since yesterday to 17.88 ft.  Flows on the Qu’Appelle River are estimated at 10,200 cfs today.  All tributaries of the Assiniboine River are decreasing.
  • Water levels at St-Lazare are 1,289.29 ft., a decrease of 0.32 ft.  St-Lazare’s community flood protection level is 1,295.34 ft.
  • Water levels at Sioux Valley are 1,203.9 ft, increasing 0.10 ft. since yesterday.  Dikes at the Sioux Valley First Nation are providing flood protection to 1,207 ft. 
  • Water levels at Griswold and Sioux Valley indicate the river is cresting today.
  • Water levels on the Assiniboine River at the First Street Bridge in Brandon are 1,182.89 ft., an increase of 0.39 ft. since yesterday.  Flows at the First Street Bridge in Brandon were 37,000 cfs, measured this morning. 
  • Forecasters are estimating that flows will crest around 39,000 cfs and between 1,183.4 and 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, for approximately three weeks above 20,000 cfs.
  • 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
  • Water levels in the Baie St. Paul area are 799.99 ft., a decrease of 0.22 ft.  Water levels at Lido Plage remained at 780.51 ft.

Red River

  • Water levels just upstream of the Red River floodway inlet decreased 0.33 ft since yesterday to 762.36 ft., with flows of 63,100 cfs.  Flows in the floodway channel are approximately 29,100 cfs.  Red River flows upstream of the floodway inlet continue to decrease by about 2,000 cfs per day.
  • Water levels on the Red River at James Avenue in Winnipeg have decreased 0.24 ft. since yesterday to 18.39 ft.  Flows at James Avenue this morning were approximately 53,400 cfs. 

Souris River

  • Flows and reservoir capacities on the Souris River in Saskatchewan continue to be monitored.  It is expected that releases from the Rafferty and Alameda reservoirs will extend the duration of high flows on the Souris River, but are unlikely to increase water levels above previous crests.
  • Water levels at Melita were 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 increased by 0.19 ft. since yesterday to 1,377.35 ft., with an increased flow of 2,950 cfs.  These high flows will be sustained for a significant period of time due to the high levels of the Plum and Oak lakes. 
  • The Souris River at Wawanesa is estimated near crest at 15,000 cfs today with a water level of 1,156.45 ft. 


  • The forecast light winds for Lake Manitoba, the south basin of Lake Winnipeg, Lake Winnipegosis, Lake St. Martin and Dauphin Lake will ease wind set up, wave action and flooding.  Winds will shift south up to 30 km/h this afternoon and tomorrow.
  • Lake levels have reached flood stage at Dauphin Lake, Oak Lake and Lake Manitoba.  Lake St. Martin, Pelican Lake and Red Deer Lake are approaching flood stage.  Lake Winnipeg, Lake Pineimuta, Lake Frances, North, East and West Shoal Lakes, Dennis Lake, Fish Lake, and other lakes throughout the Interlake and south-central part of Manitoba are experiencing very high water levels.
  • With the exception of Oak, Rock and Pelican lakes, all lakes have yet to reach crest.
  • 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 maps will 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 also creating maps for the Lake St. Martin and Lake Pineimuta area that will be made available as soon as possible.

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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 Après la publication de chaque rapport sur les inondations, les renseignements sont mis à jour en français dès que possible. 

 Pour les consulter, allez à cliquez sur « Daily Flood Reports».