Saskatchewan

Sask. First Nation faces flooding after nearby road collapse

Seven homes on the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, approximately 65 kilometres northeast of Regina, were recently evacuated after floodwater threatened them.

Heavy rains caused stream to overflow, wash out portion of Township Road 210 in the R.M. of Edenwold

Water rushes over a damaged Township Road 210 in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold. (Submitted by Rural Municipality of Edenwold)

Seven homes on the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, approximately 65 kilometres northeast of Regina, were recently evacuated after floodwater from a nearby stream moved in earlier this week.

It came after over 100 millimetres of rain fell in the area late Monday and through the day Tuesday.

Jim Pratt, an emergency coordinator for the First Nation, told CBC the heavy rain filled the stream with water. When it began backing up at culverts running underneath Township Road 210 — a gravel road upstream from Muscowpetung — it started running over the road. The road and culverts eventually gave way.

The road is now closed.

Water from this stream ended up flooding seven houses on the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation. (Submitted by Rural Municipality of Edenwold)

"All those millions of gallons of water then came down a coulee right into the valley and it affected about seven homes [at Muscowpetung]," said Pratt.

The community's chief and council activated its emergency plan, and sandbagging efforts began. Pratt said some of the residents affected were given accommodations, while volunteers managed to sandbag one of the homes. 

As of Thursday, volunteers were still attempting to save the other six homes.

"I've never seen this before," said Pratt, who grew up in the community.

"I do remember in the '70s when the Qu'Appelle River overflowed. But nothing like this where there's actually high-rise, rushing water."

Around 50 volunteers offered to sandbag homes threatened by floodwaters on the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, northeast of Regina. (Submitted by Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation)

Pratt is now concerned that several beaver dams along the stream may also give way, leading to more flooding in the coming days.

He also says he was called to the damaged road around midnight Thursday, after a car plunged into the collapsed portion.

RCMP confirmed the accident to CBC, and said three people were injured and taken to hospital. Their conditions are not known.

"The road was blockaded with signage 'Road Closed' and there were several warnings posted in regards to the washed out road," the First Nation posted on its Facebook page Thursday.

Timeline for road repair uncertain 

Pratt said the damaged road was an access point into the First Nation, but the approximately 480 residents can still travel in and out by using Highway 640.

The road is within the jurisdiction of the Rural Municipality of Edenwold. Clark Gates, manager of engineering and public works for the R.M., said it's unknown when the road will reopen.

Water continues to flow where Township Road 210 used to cross the stream. (Submitted by Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation)

"Lead times on materials right now are a big issue, so even getting the proper sized culverts in is not an immediate process," said Gates.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said officials with the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program have reached out to Muscowpetung and the R.M. to to see what assistance the program might be able to offer.

Meanwhile, the Water Security Agency said Thursday that a drier forecast should help lower levels on the affected stream.

"Given the small area we expect water levels and flows to drop quickly," the WSA said in a statement to CBC.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ethan Williams

Weather and climate journalist

Ethan Williams is a weather and climate reporter and presenter for CBC News in Saskatchewan, based in Regina. Catch CBC Saskatchewan News with Sam Maciag and Ethan Williams weeknights at 6 p.m. CST for your local news and weather. Get in touch with him: Ethan.Williams@cbc.ca

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