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Cost of Manitoba flood climbs

Soldiers help with the flood fight in southern Manitoba
Soldiers help with the flood fight in southern Manitoba

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

May 19, 2011 — The cost of this year's flood fight in Manitoba could rival that of 1997's Red River Valley 'flood of the century.'

Flooding in Brandon, MB earlier this month
Flooding in Brandon, MB earlier this month

This spring's flooding in Manitoba has already cost an estimated $200 million to fight, and that doesn't include the cost of post-flood damages.

Officials in the area say this year's bill for flooding and damages could top that of 1997's “flood of the century,” which led to about $500 million in repairs and economic loss.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in the province this spring, and dozens of houses have already been flooded. Many provincial roads and highways have also been washed out.

This year's situation in being called a one in 300-year flood on the Assiniboine River. Last weekend, a controlled breach occurred at Hoop and Holler Bend, near the community of Portage la Prairie. The idea was to flood one area in order to save others.

Despite the controlled breach, officials say the flood threat in Manitoba is far from over. In fact, provincial workers and about 100 soldiers worked side-by-side on Tuesday night to prevent a breach on the west bank of the Portage Diverson. The diverson, which sends water from the Assiniboine River into Lake Manitoba, has been handling a bigger flow than was originally intended, and that likely led to seepage. The province is expected to decide whether or not to boost flows at the Hoop and Holler bend of the river to relieve pressure.

Flooding has been a problem in other provinces this spring as well, including New Brunswick and Quebec. Now, river levels are rising in parts of the BC Interior.

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