Breach!


In an attempt to divert water from overwhelming the Assiniboine River defences the Manitoba government has intentionally breached a diking system just east of Winnipeg.  The intentional cut at Hoop and Holler Bend on the Assiniboine intentionally endangers about 200 square kilometres of prime farm land and approximately 200 homes in the area.

Troops help to flood proof a home (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

With water levels still on the rise in the west, and the peak river levels still weeks away Premier Greg Selinger worried that constant pressure on the ad-hoc diking system would be too great to handle the increase in pressure.  Faced with a possible catastrophic diking failure he gave residents as much warning as possible to safeguard their homes before breaching the dike.

Strategic planning diagram of the Hoop and Holler cut (Government of Manitoba)

The opening was apparently made in a safe and sane way, shored up and opened carefully the raging waters are diverted into a boulder trap designed to slow the waters and contain any possible erosion to the remaining diking at Hoop and Holler Bend.

Aerial view of the dike breach (CBC News)

For more on this unprecedented event, see the attached links.

Flying over the bend before breach.

Cutting into the dike.

Homes in the path of the waters.

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9 responses to “Breach!

  1. So, as I heard about this plan the other day, I wondered to myself. What happens to the homes that are in the way of the planned breach? If they are flooded and their contents destroyed, will an insurance company cover that? You know, because it’s intentional? I feel sorry for the residents and the hellish experience that they are about to go through. Ugh.

    • I thought I saw you on my little globe! I just finished writing this post, and bang there is Suze.

      The Premier has promised compensation for any damages incurred by this intentional flooding. People have been hitting the news here all week calling this action an act of Government, not of God.

      Prime Minister Harper was on the ground here this week. Between the Federal and Provincial Governments they are promising to pay for farmlands and homes. What actually comes of this is anyone’s guess, but it is an election year here in Manitoba so you can believe that money will be flowing quickly.

  2. Damn thats a lot of water.
    Seems like an impossible situation.
    And still a few weeks of rising water levels?
    Prayer for those whose homes are in the path of this water.

    • The flooding I reported on last month was on the Red River. All of this flooding is happening on the Assiniboine River, coming in from Saskatchewan.

      The ground is just so saturated here and the water levels are so high that the water literally has no where to go. All of Manitoba’s man made river diversions are running at or over capacity.

      The Red River system has crested though so this breach is an attempt to divert some of the water from the Assiniboine into the La Salle river system which flows into the Red south of Winnipeg. It’s hoped that this will take pressure off the overloaded Assiniboine River system and ease it into the Red River which is larger and can handle more water at the moment.

  3. Wow-amazing stuff.

    • I know it really can’t compare to what you went through in Japan Ambler, but this has been going on now since the first bit of snow started to melt in March. For once all levels of Government have been on the ball with accurate forecasting and trying to get assistance where it’s needed due to the ungodly amounts of snow we and our neighbours to the south and west had received.

      All that water has to go somewhere, and on its way to somewhere it passes right through Winnipeg. The Forks Market that I love so dearly is at the joining of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. So lets just say a good portion of the fun there is going to be under water until further notice.

  4. Taming mother nature? Hope this gives some relief from the flooding. Looks amazing.

    • Well everything seems to be going to plan with the dike breach so far, I don’t know if we can call it taming mother nature cause when push comes to shove she always gets her way.

  5. Oh spring! We always talk about it at the end of winter, forgetting completely everything we learned about it last year! At least… that seems to be the case around here. Rain, rain, go away!