Thursday, 28 April 2011

Deep and Wide -- our swollen rivers

            A friend recently gave me a copy of a May 17, 1950 Winnipeg Free Press Weekly. ‘Hmmm, let’s see what made the news way back then,’ I mused as I turned the yellowed, brittle pages. I soon learned some of the headlines could have been from today’s paper. “Big Red’s Disaster Toll Staggers Manitoba”. Then this article caught my eye: “Grain Auger Doubles as Water Pump” Apparently someone at a Winnipeg Massey-Harris warehouse invented a creative way to pump water. ‘Manitoba floods offer further proof of western ingenuity. Grain loaders of the auger type are being used to keep implement basement dry.’ Bill Cann, shop foreman ‘rigged up a system of pulleys on an auger and power take-off on a tractor’ which he figured ‘threw up 5,000 gallons of water per hour’.
            Today, thanks to Duffy’s Ditch and the Portage Spillway things don’t look quite as grim. Nevertheless, flood waters are causing stress in many areas, including some evacuations and road closures.

            A birds-eye view of the Souris River near Lauder, taken by Bruce Bumstead, Brandon Sun photographer. The buildings are Maple Grove Colony.

Making sandbags at Maple Grove Colony. Sandbagging efforts like this one were dubbed Operation Flooderite during the 1997 flood.
Photo by Cheryl Hofer

For flood footage in southern MB, from Jack Maendel’s vantage point visit Manitoba Flood 2011.

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