Build dikes to protect Maple Creek, report says
Although the water gushing into Maple Creek, Sask., during last year's spring flood was a one-in-3,700-year event, dikes should be built to prevent it from happening again, a new report says.
On Monday, the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority released an engineering report on the June, 2010 flood that caused severe damage in the southwest-area town.
The mayor of Maple Creek, Barry Rudd, said he hopes the province follows through on the recommendations,
"Now, we'll hopefully have the ability to build the dikes so we don't have to worry," Rudd said. "That's our main thing. I mean there's nothing else the Watershed Authority can do — they can't stop the water from coming."
A major storm dropped 100 millimetres of rain on June 18 and 19 during a wet spring when the ground was already saturated.
By the time the storm was over, about a third of the town of 2,200 people was under water, with the west side seeing the most damage. The areas with the worst flooding also suffered sewer backup.
The storm also washed away part of the Trans-Canada Highway, requiring about $10 million in repairs.
The report, written by Water Resource Consultants Ltd. for the provincial agency, noted that when water started pouring into the town, people tried to build temporary dikes, but it happened too fast and the dikes didn't work.
The report recommends building permanent dikes, two metres high, to protect the town against future floods. Following the flood, Maple Creek was declared a disaster area and hundreds of residents applied for provincial assistance.
The report noted that "the timing of financial assistance was an issue for all flood damaged areas in the province," adding that the experience of 2010 should help improve the delivery of timely help in the future.
Although widespread damage to roads and infrastructure occurred, the flood actually could have been worse, the report said.
Although the peak water flow was a one-in-3,700-year event, the volume of water was less extreme — a one-in-250-year event, the report noted.