Despite continued high water, dozens of people forced from their homes in the northern Saskatchewan communities of Timber Bay and Montreal Lake have returned home.

All 81 people officially evacuated from Timber Bay and Montreal Lake last week have returned home but water levels are still high.



Sandbagging of some homes and infrastructure continued Monday but road access is the key issue, officials said. Highways to Montreal Lake and Timber Bay are now passable, although some sections with only all-terrain vehicles.

The Montreal River and Montreal Lake have risen more quickly and to higher levels than previous records. As of Monday, Montreal Lake was 35 cm above its previous record high in 1985. The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority called it "unchartered territory." Downstream in La Ronge, residents were bracing for the water.

The watershed authority said that Lac La Ronge peaked at 364.62 metres above sea level in 1974 and 364.75 metres in 1955.

As of Monday, it was at 364.55 metres, and the water hadn't peaked.

Premier Brad Wall visited La Ronge, Montreal Lake, and Timber Bay on Monday.

He said the province will have to spend for road repairs and will need more cash for flood prevention in future. "We have almost three quarters of a billion dollars that we've kept in cash in a rainy day fund in addition to the debt reduction and the lower taxes," said Wall. "I'm certainly glad that's the case. We may need it."