Manitoba will invest $22 million in equipment and technology to improve flood-fighting capacity and preparedness as it faces the potential for widespread spring flooding, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

About $21 million of the funding will go towards acquiring resources and equipment as required to further support the level of provincial flood fighting and preparedness including:

  • two additional mobile sandbag machines and related equipment for a total of five machines for deployment where needed;
    additional portable diking systems including;
  • 43 kilometres of box-like frames that are filled with gravel or sand to be used in areas where heavy current and debris might be issues; and
    an additional 28 kilometres of water-filled portable flood barriers, bringing the total provincial stock to 83 kilometres, of which 30 kilometres will be in rapid deployment trailers;
  • 500,000 sandbags for a total of 2.2 million and 10,000 super sandbags for a total of 20,000;
  • 20 new steamers and trailers for de-icing drains and ditches for a total of 57;
  • two additional ice-cutter vehicles for a total of seven for use with Amphibex machines;
  • three additional amphibious vehicles for a total of six to support Amphibex operations;
  • more portable temporary bridges for use in restoring access if crossings are damaged;
  • reinforcement of earthen dikes at various locations along the Assiniboine River between Baie St. Paul and Portage la Prairie;
  • computer software upgrades to collect and analyze water levels and flows; and
  • expansion of the provincial emergency coordination centre.

The premier noted the province has already added a third Amphibex AE 400 icebreaking machine to its ice-jam prevention fleet.

In the 14 years since the 1997 flood, the province has invested over $1 billion in flood-protection infrastructure, most notably in the floodway expansion and the enhancement of community ring-dike systems. During that time, the province has also acquired a significant arsenal of flood-fighting equipment, the premier said.

The premier noted the province is supporting the development of a sump-pump and in-line sewer backup-valve incentive program by the City of Winnipeg, to help residents reduce the risk of basement flooding in preparation for spring flooding. The province will make equivalent funding available to municipalities outside of Winnipeg that create similar programs.

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