Manitoba's New Legislation Requiring Compensation for Artificial flooding Caused by Shellmouth Dam Operation

Manitoba's New Legislation Requiring Compensation for Artificial flooding Caused by Shellmouth Dam Operation

This is great news that the the Manitoba government is helping the landowners in the Assiniboine valley via the new legislation requiring fair compensation for crop and other business losses and property damages be given to landowners in the Assiniboine valley, if they are affected by artificial flooding caused by operation of the Shellmouth dam.

Also, there is compensation payable by the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority to downstream landowners if Fishing Lake outflows cause damages. This Fishing lake compensation agreement was effective on February 19, 2011.

Please note that the Shellmouth Dam and Other Water Control Works Management and Compensation Act will be effective on February 28, 2011.

Here is the good relief news!

Manitoba, Canada: News Release

February 25, 2011

PROVINCE PROCLAIMS LEGISLATION REQUIRING COMPENSATION FOR ARTIFICIAL FLOODING CAUSED BY SHELLMOUTH DAM OPERATION

Saskatchewan Also to Pay Compensation if Fishing Lake Outflows Cause Damages: Melnick

Landowners in the Assiniboine Valley impacted by artificial flooding caused by operation of the Shellmouth Dam will be entitled to compensation under legislation and regulations announced today by Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick.

“This legislation will provide fair compensation to landowners in the Assiniboine valley if they are affected by artificial flooding caused by operation of the Shellmouth dam,” Melnick said. “This will provide improved protection beyond what crop insurance provides for agricultural producers in the valley.”

As a result of the Shellmouth dam and reservoir, Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg benefit from flood reduction and municipalities and local farmers have a secure water supply during drought years, the minister said. The Shellmouth is part of the flood protection and water management system that includes the Portage Diversion and the Red River Floodway.

The Shellmouth dam and reservoir stores water from the Upper Assiniboine River in Saskatchewan and the Shell River in Manitoba. The dam is used to control the release of stored water into the Assiniboine River. Over the winter and prior to spring run-off, water is released to lower the level in the reservoir to enable more storage during spring run-off. During the run-off season, the flows into the Assiniboine River are regulated to minimize flooding. In times of drought, more stored water can be released to the river for irrigation, municipal water supplies and environmental benefits.

Compensation would cover damages for artificial flooding that may occur due to extreme weather events while the levels on the reservoir are high and when water levels exceed the capacity of the downstream Assiniboine River banks, Melnick said. Artificial flood damage occurs if regulated flows are above natural levels as if the reservoir did not exist.

The previous compensation programs operated on an as-needed, year-by-year basis. The new legislation would require the province to pay compensation for crop and other business losses and property damages and sets out the process to assess and determine compensable losses.

The legislation proclaimed today would also allow the province to designate other water-control structures for compensation whenever landowners experience artificial flooding. The Red River Floodway Act provides artificial flooding compensation for residents living south of the floodway inlet during major spring flood events.

The Shellmouth Dam and Other Water Control Works Management and Compensation Act comes into force on Feb. 28.

The Shellmouth Dam is located in the Assiniboine River valley about 48 kilometres northwest of Russell and provides flood control and water supplies along the Assiniboine River. The Shellmouth Dam creates a reservoir approximately 56 kms long and is capable of storing 390,000 acre-feet of water. Construction was initiated in 1964 and was completed in 1972 at a cost of $10.8 million.

Additionally, the Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments’ formal agreement on the Fishing Lake outlet dated Feb. 19 includes compensation payable by the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority to downstream landowners in the unlikely event that loss or damage to property is directly caused by releases from the Fishing Lake outlet. The agreement also prevents Fishing Lake outflows from raising river levels downstream of the Shellmouth Dam above 1,400 cubic feet per second under certain conditions to improve drainage of valley farmland. These improvements are responsive to concerns raised by producers in the Shellmouth Reservoir area, Melnick said.

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I would love to receive your comments on how you feel about this new legislation. Does the good relief news give you some peace of mind in case extreme weather events occur?

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