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.
This high oblique photograph was taken on May 4, 1997 near the maximum of the 1997 flood. It is taken looking northeast along the floodway 1 that at the time was carrying 65,000 cubic feet per second. The Red River 2 flows to the northwest through the control structure 3. The flow of the Red above the floodway was 138,000 cfs, 73,000 cfs of which was allowed through the control structure. It can be seen that despite the floodway parts of southern Winnipeg are flooded 4. PR 200 5, which leads south, disappears beneath the water (“The Red Sea”) soon after it crosses the floodway 6.
High oblique photograph
Date: May 4, 1997
Source: Manitoba Water Stewardship Web Site, www.gov.mb.ca/waterstewardship/
Location: Township 9; Range 3E
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H Winnipeg
1:50,000 62H/14 Winnipeg