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Municipal District of Taber warns residents about overland flooding

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WATCH: As the big spring melt starts in southern Alberta, the MD of Taber is preparing residents for the potential of major overland flooding affecting the entire area of the district south of the Oldman River. Malika Karim reports – Mar 25, 2018

The Municipal District of Taber issued a local state of emergency Friday night due to overland flooding in areas surrounding the town of Taber.

As the big spring melt begins in southern Alberta, the M.D. of Taber is preparing residents for the potential of major overland flooding affecting the entire area of the district south of the Oldman River.

READ MORE: Overland flood alert issued for M.D. of Taber

“This past week, we started seeing an increase in melt of the snow fall that we’ve had, which was above average for our area, and the result has been isolated pockets of flooding,” Taber’s Chief Administrative Officer, Derrick Krizsan said.

“Mother Nature’s got the cards right now, we’re just trying to deal with the hand that we’re dealt with,” says Taber’s Reeve, Brian Brewin. “Later on [Friday] night we had some houses that the water levels were getting up awful close to them, so we wanted to be able to be prepared if we have to start cutting roads, approaches, etc … so that is what kind of spurred the emergency alert to be put in effect.”
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The District has excavators out in the fields trying to open up ditches, borrow pits, and culverts in order to help the melting water drain.

“The big issue is 10 days ago we were pushing snow into these ditches, and now they’re the very ditches we’re trying to rely on to move water off,” said Brewin.

READ MORE: Massive melt: Parts of Calgary already dealing with melting snow

Although there is imminent hazard to land, property and infrastructure, officials are discouraging landowners from altering or increasing overland drainage.

“The impacts right now in some areas are severe, we certainly hope that landowners are patient and don’t contribute to additional water to the systems that are already overflowed by pumping or by excavating unnecessarily,” advised Krizsan.

For now, the Municipal District of Taber is keeping an eye on water levels and say they’re thankful for the relatively slow thaw — but they expect this to only be the beginning.

As of 5 p.m. on Saturday, the District cancelled the Alberta Emergency Alert for overland flooding but is preparing for more snow and ice melt over the next few weeks.

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