Several communities in Manitoba’s Interlake are dealing with flooding, crumbling roads and states of emergency after the third heavy rain in as many weeks.
Over the weekend, Environment Canada recorded 40.6 millimeters of rain in Gimli, which led the rural municipality to declare a local state of emergency. Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure said the Interlake and eastern Lake Winnipeg areas received an average of 30 to 50 millimeters in the same time period.
“A lot of water came in and it just overflowed the drainage system and … we’ve had some washed out roads and it’s just getting worse and worse,” Mayor Lynn Greenberg said.
Right now, no households have been asked to evacuate, but many are seeing water enter their basements, he said.
“People have never seen water like this in this area. We’ve never seen a spring like this where we’ve had all this extra snow,” Greenberg said.
“It’s just been useless. But we have to work to get past it.”
Greenberg credits the public works crew and hired contractors with working “from night until dark.”
South of Gimli in Winnipeg Beach, the mayor and council declared a state of emergency to deal with a sewer system that has been a problematic piece of infrastructure for the past decade.
The provincially owned system uses three sewers and outfalls at the marina and lake, but Mayor Tony Pimentel says the water isn’t moving fast enough.
“In order for us to get in there and do the work of removing those sewers to allow faster flow, we needed to declare a state of emergency… Plus now we can also access funds that we don’t have budgeted for events like this.”
Pimentel hopes something can be done after the town recovers from the flood because they have had to call a state of emergency three times in 12 years, in part because of the sewers.
“We will have to return to the province and seek to continue working to achieve a better solution for that location because… what we have is not conducive to the climatic conditions that we have had in recent years. “
Bifrost-Riverton Township also declared a state of emergency on Sunday, asking people to stay away from all township roads.
“Water levels continue to rage and on roads, with many roads needing to be closed for safety, we are not capable of blocking all roads at this time and asking for all non-essential travel to be postponed,” he said. the municipality said in a Facebook post.
School bus routes are also cancelled.
Interlake First Nations affected by flooding
North of Gimli and Winnipeg Beach, two First Nations in Interlake also face significant challenges due to flooding.
In Peguis First Nation, which is under a local state of emergency, water levels are slowly rising and spreading to low-lying areas.
Ground flooding is occurring in some areas due to ice buildup at the mouth of the Fisher River, the Interlake First Nation said in a Facebook post.
As of Sunday, six homes have Tiger Dams around them, and a boil water advisory is in place for those not on the main water line.
In neighboring Fisher River Cree Nation, also under a state of emergency, students at the two local schools are being asked to stay home.
“Classes will be canceled so children can stay safely at home with their families. Teachers have started preparing homework packets for those who wish to have school work for their children,” read a notice posted on First Nation’s Facebook page.
“We do not anticipate a return to normal operations until the threat of flooding is removed.”
Households with wells that are affected by flooding are encouraged to boil their water before using it.
The province says a land-based flood warning is still in place for Interlake as most ditches and waterways are full or near capacity.