Manitoba has an abundant supply of surface water with many large lakes and thousands of smaller ones (chapter 2). However, much of the water is in the north or drains to the north where there is a sparse population. In the south dams and reservoirs have been constructed to conserve water in some areas, whereas in other places projects were designed to drain water from the land to make it suitable for cultivation. The province’s rivers offered enormous potential for hydroelectric power, much of which has now been exploited, starting with a small-scale project on the Little Saskatchewan River and progressing to large projects on the Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Nelson rivers. Two thermal power stations at Brandon and Selkirk on the Assiniboine and Red rivers illustrate the need for an assurred water supply. Flooding has been a problem since the earliest days of the province, especially along the Assiniboine and Red rivers culminating in the 1997 “Flood of the Century” in the Red RiverValley. Dams, diversions and ring dikes are used to divert the floodwaters to less critical areas.
16.15: Dried-Up Sloughs Near Lenore
Large parts of southwestern Manitoba are covered by hummocky ground moraine with thousands of small lakes (sloughs) occupying low-lying areas. Many of these have dried up either as a result of natural infilling by emergent vegetation or by artificial drainage by humans to increase the land area available for agriculture. This image is of the northwestern end of an esker complex extending from near OakLake (off the photo to the south) to Lenore (off the photo to the north). Four esker-like ridges are visible 1, as are sloughs in various stages of development. Some dark-toned sloughs 2 are devoid of vegetation, whereas others have vegetation growing from the sides 3 or in the middle 4. One large slough 5 is almost completely unfilled, and others are completely dry 6; one is occupied by a clump of trees 7. Although water is available from the sloughs, farmers have constructed artificial reservoirs (dugouts) 8 to hold water for domestic and farm use.
Also notable on this image are shelterbelts protecting farm buildings 9, and straw stacks 10. Sections 10 and 11 of township 11, range 24W1 are irregularly shaped.
Figure 16.15: Dried-Up Sloughs Near Lenore
Vertical air photograph: A16411-79
Flight height: 10,300 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.4 mm