City of Winnipeg - Flood Bulletin #1

March 04, 2017

In a news release this week, the Province of Manitoba advised that there is a risk of major spring flooding on the Red River main stem. The ice-induced peak at James Avenue is estimated to be between 5.6 metres (18.5 feet) to 6.7 metres (22.0 feet) and is expected to occur later this spring.

As of 10:28 a.m., on Tuesday, February 28, the river level at James Avenue was 2.4 metres (7.77 feet).

The Province also indicated that there will be a rise of eight to 10 feet in the Red River toward the end of this week due to recent warm weather. The increase in river levels is well within the City’s standard operating protocol. At this weekend’s levels, we do not anticipate that any properties will require sandbagging.

The City is actively preparing for the forecasted peak and has responded to an event of similar magnitude in 2009. Preparations include ensuring that all flood protection infrastructure is operable and activated, identifying at-risk properties and liaising with stakeholders.

City staff will continue to monitor river levels and work closely with the Province in monitoring the situation and adapt protection measures accordingly.

Springtime thaws also increase the risk of basement flooding across the city. When river levels are high, the normal capacity of the sewer system is reduced. With heavy rains, there is an increased risk of overloaded sewers backing up through house sewer lines and flowing into basements that aren’t protected.

Although basement flooding is a risk at any time of the year, the risk increases with high river levels because the sewer system must then rely heavily on pumping stations rather than gravity to carry the rainfall runoff.

Homeowners are reminded to take steps to protect their homes and property.

  1.     Residents who live along the river should move or secure any structures or equipment near the water’s edge, such as docks, sheds, gazebos, irrigation pumps, and recreational equipment. The rising river level will affect each property owner differently.
  2.     To ensure maximum protection against basement flooding, arrange for a licensed plumber to install a sewer line backup valve and a sump pit with pump in the basement.
  3.     Inspect backup valves and sump pump drainage systems to make sure they are functioning properly.
  4.     Ensure drainage is directed away from the home by extending downspouts away from the basement walls and ensuring the earth is built up around the house.

Property owners are reminded it is against the law to drain sump pump water into the basement floor drain or any other part of the house plumbing system, as it can overtax the sewer system placing their basement and those of their neighbours at risk of flooding and damage.

More information is available on the following web pages:

Protect Your Home from Basement Flooding

Winnipeg River Levels

James Avenue Datum

City of Winnipeg Emergency Preparedness Program

The public is also encouraged to follow the City of Winnipeg on Facebook and Twitter (#WpgFlood) for flood updates.