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Swift Current water levels rise

Alexandra Pope and Jill Colton, staff writers

April 14, 2011 — Water levels continue to rise on the Swift Current Creek.

Release rates are on the rise from the Duncairn Reservoir.
Release rates are on the rise from the Duncairn Reservoir.

Release rates from the Duncairn Reservoir are increasing by the day.

Officials at the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority anticipate higher flows in the range of 140 to 150 cubic metres per second in the near future.

Late last week, the province lowered the Duncairn Reservoir to make room for the heavy flood.

The province says it's working closely with the city to offer assistance if need be.

Higher levels are also being reported across a number of regions across the southwest.

Releases from Thompson Reservoir on the Wood River were increased on Tuesday to 113 cubic metres per second.

The increased rate was expected to cause flooding of low lying areas along the Wood River. Precautionary sandbagging has started in Gravelbourg.

The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA) has forecasted a higher-than-average run-off for the province's agricultural areas.

The highest risk zone extends as far south as Regina and as far east as Wynyard.

So far, the gradual melt has helped the situation, according to the SWA's John Fahlman. However, the authority is not sure how long the favourable conditions will last.

...We're watching the weather just like everybody else, Fahlman says.

To prepare, the province has begun distributing some of the $22 million allocated to its the Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program.

Image of the Red River in Manitoba - April 2010.
Image of the Red River in Manitoba - April 2010.

Nine communities in the Humboldt area have been given $300,000 to fill sandbags and fortify berms and culverts.

The SWA says the province has received more than 500 applications for funding, 200 of them from individuals looking to protect their farm properties.

The Highways Ministry is also planning ahead, keeping workers from across the province on standby and ordering extra equipment, including steaming units to thaw frozen culverts.

Additionally, emergency trailers have been sent out all across the province.

The ministry is hoping to avoid a repeat of 2010, when rainfall led to a rush of water that washed out half of Highway 1 near Maple Creek.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, a flood bulletin has been issued as rivers and creeks begin to spill their banks in rural areas.

In order to protect lives and property from an above-average flood, Manitoba's government has contracted Alberta's Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) to perform helicopter evacuations and rescues if necessary.

With files from 650 CKOM and The Canadian Press

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