Disaster Financial Assistance for Westman’s early summer flooding

Communities in Westman as well as the Red River Valley can receive Disaster Financial Assistance in response high water events in spring and early summer. Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced the activation of the DFA program for these areas on Friday, Sept 11.

The heavy rain event that occurred on June 28 to July 5 impacted the communities of Minnedosa, Rapid City and Rivers, as the rain-swollen Little Saskatchewan River made its way to the Assiniboine River.

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The heavy precipitation was a one-in-1,000-year rain event resulting in fear that the provincial dam near Rivers might not hold up and municipalities were advised to evacuate a limited number of properties as a precaution.

Brandon put a dike plug in place over the Grand Valley Road near the Corral Centre, which will stay in place until the province has certainty that the Rivers dam structure is strong.

The Portage Diversion was activated from July 2 to 9, to limit water flow in the lower Assiniboine River.

Heavy precipitation in the upstream watershed of the Whitemud River at Neepawa caused the river to rise above 2011 levels and resulted in the Park Lake dam at Neepawa bursting.

Ten municipalities declared a state of local emergency and 20 municipalities were impacted by heavy rain. Throughout the area hundreds of roads along with bridges were damaged.

In early spring the provincial Hydrologic Forecast Centre identified a potential high-water situation in the Red River Valley and the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion were activated. Provincial operations focused on the Red River Valley ring dike communities and included pumping, completing partial ring dike closures and ramping of roads for continued community access.

Later the southeast area of the province received heavy rains from June 6 to 10, with some areas recording almost 200 millimetres of rain within three days. Overland flooding was reported in the rural municipalities (RM) of De Salaberry, Piney, Reynolds, La Broquerie and Stuartburn, as well as the Municipality of Emerson-Franklin.

“Manitobans are always encouraged to check their insurance policies first, then consider a DFA program application,” said Schuler. “The DFA program should be used as a last resort.”

DFA programs provide provincial assistance for certain disaster-related losses when a widespread natural disaster strikes and creates an unreasonable financial burden. Assistance is generally provided for recovery needs of local governments, occupied private residential properties, farms, small business and some not-for-profit organizations.

“We are pleased to be able to offer these programs even at a time when COVID-19 is consuming an enormous amount of provincial resources,” said Schuler. “Preliminary estimates show at least two of the programs will be substantial enough for potential cost-sharing with the federal government through the federal disaster financial assistance arrangements.”

The DFA application deadline for local authorities and those in the private sector is Dec. 10.

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