Posted by: Vicki Burns | June 24, 2011

Unprecedented Flooding Continues to Challenge Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota

Today is Day 80 of the 2011 Flood Season and there is no end in sight yet. Recent heavy rains in Saskatchewan have added so much water to the already water logged land that the Souris River is expected to top the historical record set in 1881 by 5 feet.  Over 10,000 residents of the city of Minot, North Dakota have had to evacuate and Manitoba towns, Melita, Souris and Wawanesa are on alert now. The images coming from the Minot flooding are truly devastating.

image of river overrunning its banks

Souris River Spilling Its Banks Near Minot, N.D.

Steve Ashton, Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Minister was quoted as saying, “Everything we’ve used to describe the flood so far has proven to be inadequate. Unprecedented is really an understatement at this point.”

Tremendous energy and financial resources must be committed just to deal with emergency response to help all those who are personally affected by the flood and to compensate those (like farmers) whose incomes will be affected for some time to come. It seems that it would be difficult to take a step back and look at future flood mitigation measures when the crisis is so real right now. I hope, though, that we are able to do just that.

There are ways to mitigate future flood risks by taking a more holistic view of water management and investing in some land management practices that could slow the flow of water over our land dramatically. Restoring wetlands may appear to be a costly investment now but the payoffs will be substantial over time, both in benefits to our water quality in rivers and lakes, as well as to our wallets, with decreased flood compensation costs. The time is now to start thinking about how we can prevent this degree of flooding in future years.  Some of that knowledge and expertise already exists so let’s get going on using it.



  1. I love reading through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

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