First-ever fall floodway use successful after unprecedented snowstorm, says Manitoba Government

The Red River Floodway on Oct. 8, 2019.
The Red River Floodway on Oct. 8, 2019. Submitted

The province says the activation of the floodway between October and November was successful in preventing basements from flooding and sewers from backing up in Winnipeg during heavy fall rain and snow.

Southern Manitoba was hammered by nearly unprecedented September rain, followed by a devastating heavy snowstorm, which left some in the dark for weeks.

READ MORE: Province may activate Red River Floodway Wednesday

The government estimates some areas were hit with four times more precipitation than usual in September.

This was the first time ever the Red River Floodway was activated later than August, and only the fifth time in its history to have been used specifically to prevent sewer systems from becoming overwhelmed.

READ MORE: Winnipeggers clean up aftermath of massive October snowstorm

For 29 days beginning on Oct. 9, the floodway diverted some 556.3-million cubic metres of water around the city, and the river level never exceeded 17 feet at the James Avenue Pumping Station.

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Outside the Perimeter Highway, artificial flooding at the inlet is estimated to have crested just shy of three feet.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler says there is a compensation program for those with damaged property or economic loss as a result of the floodway being used; more details can be found here.

The floodway has been activated in 33 of the past 50 years.

Floodway 101 – How does the Red River Floodway work, anyway?
Floodway 101 – How does the Red River Floodway work, anyway?