The City of Winnipeg says 41 property owners will need dikes to protect from river flooding, and another 16 remain at risk of flooding this spring.
At a press conference Monday Jason Shaw, head of the city’s emergency operations centre, said the city expects the river to crest around April 13 or 14 at roughly 20.9 feet at James Avenue.
The river level at James Avenue was 14.69 feet Monday afternoon, the city said.
Shaw said only those properties notified directly are considered at risk of flooding, and anyone who hasn’t heard from city officials who thinks their property is at risk should contact 311.
He said while it’s up to property owners to build their own sandbag dikes, homeowners who have trouble finding volunteers due to COVID-19 may get help from city crews.
He said city crews have already helped one homeowner set up dikes, but most of the others identified at risk of flooding have said they have volunteers ready, he added.
“These are homeowners that understand that their property is on the river and they understand that they are in a floodplain and almost yearly are required to build a sandbag dike,” Shaw said.
“These homeowners are experienced in doing so and usually have a good genre of volunteers to help.
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“(But) we’re there to backup our residents and help them out if required.”
River levels are available at the city’s website, updated in real time every 10 minutes.
Shaw said city officials continue to monitor river levels and are working with the province to decide if additional properties will require sandbag dikes.
Sandbags are available for pick up between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 1220 Pacific Ave., 1539 Waverley St., and 960 Thomas Ave, and Shaw said sandbags will be dropped off at properties deemed to be at risk.
Shaw said the city has more than 200,000 sandbags ready.
“We won’t require that many for predicted river levels, but always like to be prepared,” he said.
In the meantime city is also warning homeowners take steps to protect against basement flooding.
Measures include having a licensed plumber install a sewer line backup valve and sump pit with pump in basements and, inspecting existing backup valves and sump pump systems to make sure they work.
The city also recommends making sure drainage is directed away from the home by extending downspouts away from the basement walls and making sure the earth is built up around the house.
Updated information on flooding is available on the city’s website.