Drained wetlands contribute to Prairie summer floods, says expert
Summer floods that have brought parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba under water can be blamed in part on farmers draining prairie wetlands, according to a hydrology expert.
John Pomeroy, the Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, says rainstorms in late June started the overland floods in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba and raised levels in waterways such as the Assiniboine River.
- LIVE BLOG: Updates from CBC reporters in the field
- What's the long-term solution to prairie flooding?
"This sort of flooding is absolutely unprecedented. Normal prairie flooding is due to snow melt and it occurs in April and a little bit into May," said Pomeroy, who is also the director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan.
"To have one start off completely due to rainfall and start in June and move into July is something we've never seen before; there are no records of this type of flooding ever occurring here," he said in an interview Thursday.
"The drainage of natural prairie wetlands by farmers throughout the Assiniboine River and Souris River basins has likely substantially increased the flood peaks and the volume of flow that's coming down in towards the Assiniboine River right now," he said.
Pomeroy said the issue of wetland drainage should be seriously considered "as we start to look at perhaps increased incidents of high summer rains like this.
"Can we do something about it? Well, maybe the first thing is to stop draining wetlands."
Click on the video above to watch the full interview.
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?