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.
Lake Irwin 1, a PFRA project, was created in 1960 by building a dam 2 across the Whitemud River 3 that empties into the south end of Lake Manitoba after flowing through Neepawa and Gladstone. A riparian conduit 4 carries water through the dam into the river, and a spillway 5 bypasses the dam on the east side. Lake Irwin is the source for Neepawa’s municipal water supply and is also used for swimming, sailing, water skiing, and fishing. Although not shown on this image some cottage development has occurred around the lake. On this large-scale image, the original north/south 6 and east/west 7 section lines can be seen approaching the lake.
Vertical air photograph: A18621-130
Flight height: 9,385 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.13 mm
Scale: 1:16,700 (approx.)
Date: September 12, 1964
Location: Township 14; Range 15WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62J Neepawa
1:125,000 62J SW Neepawa
1:50,000 62J/3 Neepawa