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 taken looking northward shows the Red River Plain near the International Border during the 1997 flood. The normal channel of the Red River, which at times carried more than 120,000 cfs, is picked out by woodland along its banks 1. A ring dike 2 protected Emerson 3, as well some land 4 south of the border 5, from flooding. The CN railway line 6 crosses the Red River to the west, and the CP line 7 ,which runs northeast from Emerson, appears to be flooded north of the ring dike 8. Flood waters, no respecter of political boundaries, cover vast areas north 9 and south 10 of the border.
Low oblique photograph
Source: Manitoba Water Stewardship
Date: April/May 1997
Location: Township 1; Ranges 2E
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H Winnipeg
1:50,000 62H/3 Emerson