Extraordinary volumes of water are flowing through the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, with officials expecting there will be flooding in the province. The northern community of Cumberland House will be evacuated ahead of the flood waters, officials say.
About 1,500 people live in the village, which is situated on an island which separates Cumberland Lake from the Saskatchewan River.
Officials said they will work on moving people out of the community over the course of the next week as the peak flows are not expected for a few days.
The concern, officials said, relates to the Saskatchewan River near Cumberland House, downstream of where the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers converge.
Alberta recently issued a high flow advisory for the North Saskatchewan River. When combined with record high flows on the South Saskatchewan River, officials said they are expecting flooding along the Saskatchewan River.
South Saskatchewan River will also overflow banks
Officials said there will also be flooding along the South Saskatchewan River, as the province's Water Security Agency releases water into the river from the Gardiner Dam.
Precautionary measures in Saskatoon
The City of Saskatoon is taking action in anticipation of rising waters of the South Saskatchewan River. Barricades will be put up to restrict access to lower lying roads and parts of the Meewasin Valley Trail where flooding may occur, the city announced Friday.
Beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, the following locations will be closed until further notice:
- Spadina Crescent and the Meewasin Valley Trail at Ravine Drive, and just south of the entrance to the Meewasin Park North shelter. Access to the parking lot will be maintained.
- The lower trail at the Mendel Art Gallery where it connects to the upper trail, including access to the Shearwater Tours dock and the Mendel Lookout.
- River Landing lower trail between the Traffic Bridge and the Sid Buckwold Bridge.
"These outflows will result in some out-of-bank flooding of agricultural land downstream of Lake Diefenbaker and may affect municipal infrastructure near the river," the agency said Friday.
Fast flows through Saskatoon
The amount of water flowing through the river was expected to increase through the weekend and reach about 2,000 cubic metres per second by Sunday.
Officials said the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon has not seen that much water flow through since the early 1900s.
The water is coming from the river system in Alberta and officials said the peak flow will reach Lake Diefenbaker on Monday.
People in Saskatoon were being advised to stay off the river.