Tuesday July 29, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.




Can we prepare for next time?

Comments

Three years ago, parts of southeast Saskatchewan were ravaged by the "Flood of the Century."

It was the type of perfect storm that we thought couldn't be repeated.

But it has occurred again. The location is different, and the circumstances have certainly changed. But we're still seeing thousands of residents negatively affected by too much water and too much rain, in too short of a time period.

And now the question that we should be asking ourselves is not if or how a severe flood event will happen again, but when it will be.

Perhaps it was naïve to think that we would be immune from a major flood so soon after the disaster of three years ago. After all, a significant flood has seemingly become an annual event for at least one area of Saskatchewan in recent years.

It's unlikely we'll see another flood event in southeast Saskatchewan within the next few years, but precautions are needed to reduce the impact of future flood events.

The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency did their part following the floods of 2011, implementing new monitoring and communication measures, developing new guidelines for releasing water from reservoirs in the fall and winter months, and introducing plans to bring burgeoning reservoirs back to full supply level.

It doesn't guarantee that there won't be a flood related to reservoir releases, but hopefully it eliminates the need to ever release more than 700 cubic metres per second of water again.

In other areas, though, there is only so much that can be done. You can have sandbags ready if prolonged torrential rains are in the forecast, and you can install culverts. But nothing can prepare you for seven, eight or even nine inches of rain that were recorded in many parts of the southeast and the east-central regions.

If you have at least seven inches of rain in Saskatchewan in a couple of days, you're going to have flooding. No amount of preparation will prevent fields from being submerged, or highways and grid roads from being under water or even washed away.

There will be more floods in Saskatchewan. There will be another flood in southeast Saskatchewan, regardless of whether it's in the Estevan area, the far southeast corner, or elsewhere.

We can take precautions against the flooding. But we can't say "It'll never happen again." And once it does happen, we'll have to be ready to work to facilitate with clean-up and recovery. 


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