The Manitoba government has announced that permanent rehabilitation work of the Rivers Dam on Lake Wahtopanah in Rivers Provincial Park, has started.

“Our government is pleased to announce the start of construction on the Rivers Dam to ensure that the dam can safely pass future flood events,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk. “This project is moving forward using feedback provided by local stakeholders, who provided valuable input through the public engagement process and have given positive feedback on the final design.”

The heavy rainfall event in the summer of 2020 caused record flooding on the Little Saskatchewan River, impacting the dam at Rivers. During the rainfall, the water level at the dam reached record-high levels, affecting surrounding communities including Brandon, Riverdale and Whitehead. Approximately 83 people had to evacuate from their homes in the Rivers Dam flood zone area. Interim repairs to the Rivers Dam spillway were completed in February 2021, but a more permanent solution was needed to improve the dam and ensure the safety of the communities, said Piwniuk.

The start of permanent upgrades on Rivers Dam is beginning, which includes rehabilitation work to the low flow conduit estimated at $5.5 million, with construction expected to be completed this fall.

The larger work for the project includes the rehabilitation of the concrete spillway and embankment. This work is scheduled to be tendered in the spring 2024, with construction starting in summer 2024, and is anticipated to be complete in fall 2025. Work on this phase is estimated to cost about $34 million.

The Rivers Dam controls water levels on Lake Wahtopanah in Rivers Provincial Park, where numerous residences are located. The rehabilitated dam will be capable of safely passing a flood event well in excess of the one in a 1,000-year event, the minister noted.

This investment builds on other significant, critical climate resiliency projects as part of the Manitoba government’s capital investment strategy including:

  • raising the northbound lames of Provincial Trunk Highway 75 by up to 1.2 metres  and Provincial Road 246 upgraded to protect the major trade route from a 2009 level flood event;
  • ongoing rehabilitation and upgrades to provincial dams, dikes and pump stations at key locations throughout Manitoba’s major basins;
  • ongoing investment in the Portage Diversion including repairs to the outlet structure and upgrades to the control structure;
  • the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels project; and
  • the Rapid City Dam project.

For more information on Manitoba’s water management and structures, including information on Manitoba’s lakes and river conditions, current projects and major flood control infrastructure, visit


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