With the Assiniboine River expected to rise above 2011 flood levels in the coming days, people living in the Headingley area, just outside Winnipeg, are gearing up for the oncoming surge of water.

The provincial government says the region near Portage La Prairie, Man., will see a "very significant crest" of the river by midnight Tuesday.

That means the next 48 to 72 hours will be critical for communities along the Assiniboine from Portage la Prairie east to Winnipeg, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said Monday.

River levels in that area are expected to rise to one foot above levels from the 2011 flood, he added.

In the Rural Municipality of Headingley, just west of the capital city, residents like Tracey Unrau say they've already noticed the rising water levels.

"Today we noticed that the water rose about another six inches out here," said Unrau, who lives with her family along the river.

Headingley flood dikes

Dikes along the Assiniboine River in the Rural Municipality of Headingley on Monday. (Lindsay Tsuji/CBC)

​Unrau said she's most worried about "the house and just the community itself, making sure everybody's OK."

Several days ago, crews started building dikes to protect about homes along the river in case levels go up by another three or four feet (about one to 1.2 metres).

"A lot of diking along this stretch of houses — like, 10 homes that we've diked up," Headingley Mayor Wilfred Taillieu said late Monday.

"We're just waiting for the water."

City officials warn of flooded basements

Within Winnipeg city limits, those who live along the river are being warned to be on alert over the next few days.

"People who are west of Route 90 near Polo Park, going westward from Route 90, the river actually will increase another metre — or three feet — in the coming days here," said Randy Hull, the City of Winnipeg's emergency preparedness co-ordinator.

Hull said when river levels are high, a major concern is flooded basements.

"We've always messaged that a backup valve and a sump pump pit would be wonderful things to have in your basement," he said.

The City of Winnipeg's website has tips on how to protect your home from basement flooding.

Hull also advises residents living near the river to "move any valuables out of the basement, move things off the floor that are typically sitting on the floor."

With files from the CBC's Lindsay Tsuji