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Manitoba March flood outlook

Red River Valley prepares as flooding expected to reach 2009 levels, closing ring dikes and PTH 75: Schuler

The Manitoba government is expected to open the Portage Diversion this spring to control flows on the Assiniboine River.

The province’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre (HFC) forecasts a flood in the Red River Valley at or marginally above 2009 levels with normal to unfavorable weather, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said today. There also remains a moderate risk of flooding along the Assiniboine River.

“Manitoba Infrastructure continues to make preparations for high water and is working with municipalities to ensure they have the information and support needed for a flood of this magnitude,” said Schuler. “The Red River will once again carry a significant amount of water north, requiring the operation of the Red River Floodway and additional measures taken in partnership with local municipalities.”

In its second 2019 spring flood outlook, the HFC notes that with favourable weather, slightly less than 2009 flood levels on the Red River can be expected. With the use of the floodway, water levels at James Avenue in Winnipeg could reach 20.5 feet with unfavourable weather. At this time, the peak at Emerson is expected between April 12 and 23 depending on the rate of the snowmelt and water movement, along with temperatures on both sides of the border. Flood water levels will still be influenced by the rate of snowmelt and future snow and rain accumulation.

Flooding on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers is expected to be moderate with low-lying areas and agricultural lands inundated, but levels will be below the top of community dikes. The Portage Diversion will likely be operated.

“The provincial government is also working with federal officials to ensure the safety of Indigenous communities and preparing to support municipal evacuations if needed,” said Schuler. “We are also working with the agricultural producers to ensure livestock is moved out of the impacted areas.”

Community ring dikes and the majority of individual flood protection works in the Red River Valley are at 1997 flood plus two feet (61 centimetres) levels. Since the 1997 flood, $800 million in permanent flood-proofing measures have been put in place including $630 million of completed improvements and expansion on the Red River Floodway ‎and west dike enhancing.

The minister noted Manitoba Infrastructure is undertaking procurement related to flood preparation, response and recovery through transparent, competitive processes to ensure value for money. These open tenders include the purchasing of sand bags, aggregate material, equipment and support for community dike closures if necessary, and engineering services for flood response advice. Outline agreements and standing offers will be used in these situations to ensure that no procurement is undertaken unless and until required, he added.

Updated flood material will be available as forecasts further develop. Updated flood info can be found at

More information about flooding and how to prepare for an emergency situation is available at

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