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 small hamlet of Kenton 1 (population of 158 in 1986) gets its water supply by damming a minor tributary 2 of Oak River 3 which in turn flows to the Assiniboine River—off the photo to the south. The dam produces a reservoir 4 just over ½ mile (0.8 km) long south of Kenton 5, which along with Harding 6 and Bradwardine 7 (both now abandoned) is located on the Lenore extension 8.[i] Lenore is off the photo to the west.
Figure 16.4: Dam and Reservoir at Kenton
Vertical air photograph: A21666-13
Flight height: 23,170 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 85.611 mm
Scale: 1:83,400 (approx.)
Date: July 21, 1970
Location: Townships 11 and 12; Ranges 24 and 25WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62F Virden
1:50,000 62F/15 Virden
[i] Williams, A. and Everitt, J. “An Analysis of Settlement Development in Southwest Manitoba: The Lenore Extension” in Prairie and Northern Perspectives: Geographical Essays eds. Selwood H. J. and Lehr, J. C. Winnipeg: Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg, Department of Geography, 1989, 113-122.