Manitoba’s Minister of Infrastructure Tours Flood Areas in the Red River Valley
He wants to see how much water is flowing north
FARGO, N.D. — The flood fight isn’t something only people in North Dakota are dealing with. It’s also going to affect our neighbors to the north.
Manitoba’s Minister of Infrastructure Ron Schuler spent the day meeting with local representatives and touring the flood area in the Red River Valley and further south.
He joined State Representative Kim Koppelman of West Fargo and leaders from the Red River Basin Commission.
“I would suggest to anyone who lives in North Dakota, look out your window, look at the water, and know it all has to go through Winnipeg, so that’s of concern to us,” Schuler said.
He says in Manitoba, all communities that could be affected have gotten sandbags, and the Winnipeg Floodway does divert a lot of the water.
He says after the flood of 1997, around a billion dollars has been spent on flood protections in the form of pumps, dykes and levees. Because of those protections, their major infrastructure is not at risk.
“To be down here and see what your preparations are, what’s coming our way has been very helpful. We’re very vigilant as you are here. We basically all live at the bottom of what used to be lake,” he said.
Because the Red River flows north, Schuler wanted to see how much water is coming and how fast it’s flowing.
Experts say where the Sheyenne River meets the Red River essentially doubles the amount of water.
“What concerns us the most will be what the crest will be when it hits Manitoba,” Schuler said.
“They have a lot of rural communities around the river all the way through Manitoba. So they face a lot of the same concerns as well. They’re the end of the line. We’re here so some of the communities can miss out on that big flood whereas it’s all got to go through Winnipeg at some point,” Ted Priester, executive director of the Red River Basin Commission, said.
In the Red River Valley itself, “the concerns are some of the overland flooding, some of the areas that aren’t well–protected, and it certainly reminds all of us that we need to get this diversion built so our entire metro area is protected,” Koppelman said.
“We have a motto whereby we plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Schuler said.