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Manitoba announces $1.6M for improved flood-risk map

Manitoba will add vital flood information to its mapping inventory for three of its priority watersheds.

At the Forks Thursday morning, provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley Doug Eyolfson announced $794,520 in federal funding over three years for Manitoba under the federal National Disaster Mitigation Program to be used to produce flood-risk maps.

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At the Forks Thursday morning, provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley Doug Eyolfson announced $794,520 in federal funding over three years for Manitoba under the federal National Disaster Mitigation Program to be used to produce flood-risk maps.

The province of Manitoba is hoping improved data will help save homes and money in future flood seasons.

On Thursday, provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headlingly MP Doug Eyolfson announced $1.6 million in combined funding will be spent over the next three years on LiDAR (light detection and ranging) surveys to produce new flood-risk maps.

By accurately gauging elevation along the Souris River, Whitemud River, and Assiniboine River, he said the province will be able to “better prepare for flood events.”

“Even though we’ve had a really great—one of the nicest summers—a really dry summer… (we do know) there’s a good chance at some point in time we’re going to face another flood event,” he said. “Improved knowledge of flood risk will assist communities to prepare for and respond to floods, reducing the need for evacuations, and the amount of damage spring flooding can cause.”

He added that the data would also be shared with municipalities to help them make better “development decisions” in what could be flood-prone areas.

“I think we have to be a little bit smarter about where we build,” he said.

Manitoba has approximately 40,500 sq. km of high altitude LiDAR already in its elevation library, and is expecting to add 29,185 sq. km to that library in 2018, representing approximately 67 per cent of southern Manitoba.

The federal funding for the feat, totalling $794,520 over three years, comes by way of the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP).

In a prepared statement, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale said “weather-related natural disasters are getting more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive.”

He deemed diasters like floods “a threat not only to the safety of our communities, but to our economic stability.”

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