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 River Valley. Dams, diversions and ring dikes are used to divert the floodwaters to less critical areas.
The photo shows an area of about four square miles (10.4 square kilometres) between Oak Lake and Plum Lakes to the northeast and east, and Marshy Lake to the south. It lies on the floor of glacial Lake Hind and, after the retreat of the lake, was a marshy area. Land has been reclaimed to be used mostly for hay growing—bales can be seen in several locations 1. A small creek, Bell Creek 2, drains eastward into Plum Lakes. Another dry drainage channel 3 with some abandoned sections 4 drains across the two northern sections to join Bell Creek off the photo to the east. Other segments of drainage channels can be seen in several locations 5. The reclaimed soils are very dark, especially where the land has been left fallow 6. In one location cultivation has produced an even darker tone 7. Where a crop has been gown 8, wet patches obviously hinder growth and harvesting 9. Six farms 10 can be seen in the area, all protected by shelterbelts11. The CN line crosses the southwest corner 12.
The photo was taken in early winter—shadows of trees 13 indicate that they have no leaves. The shadows fall just west of north 14 indicating that the photo was taken just before noon.
Vertical air photograph: A20287-3
Flight height: 9,330 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.17 mm
Scale: 1:15,100 (approx.)
Date: October 30, 1967
Location: Townships 7 and 8; Range 25WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62F Virden
1:50,000 62F/10 Pipestone