The River Watch program will provide New Brunswickers with information on the status of rivers, potential ice jams, and other flood issues across the province over the coming weeks.

“Many communities along the Saint John River saw massive flooding in 2018 and 2019,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “The impact in 2019 however, was not as severe thanks to preparedness efforts on the part of individuals and municipal governments. As New Brunswickers get ready this year, I encourage them to check with insurance providers about flood insurance. People who can get affordable insurance that would cover the costs associated with flooding are ineligible for disaster financial assistance.”

The River Watch program is a collaboration between the Department of Environment and Local Government and the Department of Public Safety’s New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Other partners include NB Power, watershed groups, federal and provincial governments, as well as agencies in the United States involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flow in the province’s rivers and streams.

“A number of factors contribute to flooding, including precipitation, snow pack, air temperature, and river ice,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr. “Our hydrologists work with numerous partners to monitor and forecast water levels, flows and identify any potential problems that could come with the spring freshet.”

Each morning River Watch officials, including hydrology experts, receive a weather briefing and collect data from several sources to build river models and forecasts. The public is then informed if there are potential threats.

During the River Watch season, New Brunswickers are advised to:

  • be prepared for possible flooding and have a plan to evacuate and be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours;
  • move belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding;
  • avoid the banks of waterways, as they become dangerous this time of year. The water is cold and currents are swift and could carry debris;
  • be aware that, as ice continues to deteriorate, it will become unsafe to cross waterways on foot, in cars, or on snowmobiles or ATVs;
  • call the River Watch toll-free number, 1-888-561-4048, to receive the latest recorded water levels, forecasts and public advisories;
  • call 511 for road closures and conditions or check online;
  • read helpful tips, the latest forecasts and public advisories by visiting the River Watch website, or by following the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook; and
  • report significant ice jams or rising water. If you need advice, contact the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.
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Weather warnings are also available online.

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization coordinates preparedness for emergencies. It also coordinates provincial response and recovery operations during emergencies and administers disaster financial assistance programs.

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