June 18, 2018 by David Kennedy
ST. LAURENT, Man.—A major infrastructure project that will manage high water levels in Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin northwest of Winnipeg has been green-lit by the provincial and federal governments.
The two tiers of government committed a combined $540 million to the project June 18, partially in response to severe flooding that damaged houses, businesses and infrastructure in the area in both 2011 and 2014. The $247.5 million contribution from Ottawa is the first awarded under the federal government’s new Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.
One of the new channels will divert water from Lake Manitoba to Lake St. Martin, while the other will carry it farther, between Lake St. Martin and Lake Winnipeg. Each channel will be about 23-kilometres-long and provide secondary outlets for natural rivers that connect the three lakes, allowing the province to manage lake levels and prevent flooding. The two channels are designed to carry 7,500 cubic feet of water per second and 11,500 cfs respectively.
Water control structures, two bridges, a power distribution line and adjacent highway infrastructure are also included in the project.
The Manitoba government says work on an access road is already underway, while the majority of construction is scheduled to start in fall 2019.