Opinion Letters

Resident says still suffering from flood

Submitted by Jonas Johnson, Langruth, Manitoba

I'm sure that people everywhere else in the Province feel there must be something wrong with the people around Lake Manitoba. They are still complaining about the Flood of 2011 in 2012.

There are many property owners in as bad a position in 2012 as they were in 2011. For many of us, our businesses are still in a position of no income being generated. Ranchers are still left with no pasture or a feed supply from their own land for 2012; because their forages & grasses had been drowned out in the flood water in 2011. Their land is now left in a barren almost "moonscape" appearance with no hope of production this year.

Our Government chooses to speak of $880 million spent on the 2011 Flood. However the majority of these dollars were not spent on Lake Manitoba.

The Province knew that a lot of water was coming in 2010. They have spent more money building dikes on the Assiniboine River and in work on the Portage Diversion than they have spent to date on the flooded property owners surrounding Lake Manitoba; people who had made their living and created generations of life prior to this devastation.

I will agree that there were historically heavy natural flows of water on both the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers. Many people along those rivers were hit hard. This flooding was however from natural flows. The word "natural" does not eliminate the hardship and destruction that people in these areas suffered. All the water in both the Assiniboine & Souris ended in the Portage Reservoir; a flow of just over 52,000 cubic feet per second. Here at the Portage Reservoir is where things changed.

Our Province was able to redirect 34,000 plus cubic feet per second through the Portage Diversion north to Lake Manitoba. This would leave 18,000 cubic feet per second to travel the natural course east to Winnipeg. This water would be natural flow. The 34,000 cubic feet per second diverted to Lake Manitoba would now be ARTIFICIAL because the Portage Diversion is MAN-MADE and all this water was "REDIRECTED BY MAN".

For over three months, 60% of the water flowing into Lake Manitoba came from the Portage Diversion. The water levels of Lake Manitoba stopped rising only when the Diversion was shut off. But the damage was already done.

How can Mr. Ashton continually deny that Lake Manitoba was flooded by the necessary use of the Portage Diversion? Mr. Ashton is like a little boy with a cookie in his mouth and his hand in the cookie jar but still denying that he is taking cookies.

Point of interest: The Portage Diversion is licensed to a maximum of 24,500 cubic feet per second. It carried at one point over 34,000 cubic feet per second. Not only did Lake Manitoba receive massive amounts of ARTIFICIAL water but over 9,000 cubic feet per second were illegal according to the licensing.

This water that was sent to us is NOT NATURAL to Lake Manitoba; it is ARTIFICIAL.

Mr Ashton daily in question period ignores the water that was redirected to Lake Manitoba in 2011. He wishes only to focus on the heavy natural flows on the Waterhen River.

Mr. Ashton continually ignores the fact that the volumes from the Waterhen were close to balance to the outflow of the Fairford.

Mr. Ashton also ignores the fact that no effort to lower Lake Manitoba was made prior to the Spring of 2011.

Most people in Manitoba are unaware that the Portage Diversion ran at over 30,000 CFS for days without any increase outflow of the structure at the Fairford. We have a Government that knows they have deliberately flooded Lake Manitoba and saved the Province billions of dollars by redirecting the majority of Assiniboine water away from all points east of Portage la Prairie.

The Province chooses to deny to call the flooding of Lake Manitoba ARTIFICAIL and continues to refer to it as Natural Flood Waters. They feel that this lie that they are hiding behind will absolve them of most liabilities and millions of dollars can be saved on the backs of a much smaller population then that east of Portage la Prairie.

It is a crime what has been done to Lake Manitoba and its surrounding citizens. I wonder if those responsible could pass a polygraph test or do they actually believe it is right to destroy a smaller sector of society to protect a larger one.

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