At this time last year we had already been through flood one and were about to go into flood two here in Roche Percee. We had a resident who lived on the wrong side of the dike and moved out on April 13 and she only got to go back to her home a couple of days before the "big one, flood four" on June 19 hit, which destroyed her home along with most of the other village homes.
But this flood did more than affect those of us in Roche Percee, it affected everyone in the southeast. If you lived south of the valley and needed to go to a doctor or drugstore you had to use Highway 39 (when it was open), otherwise you had to drive across Rafferty Dam (when it was open).
When these routes were closed, you would have had to go over to Regway up Highway 6 and then back. So if you lived south of Oxbow you could see the town but would have had to drive 200 miles to get there, or go by boat, if you had one. The bridges on Highways 47, 39, and 9 crossing the Souris River are designed for a flow of 197 cubic meters per second. We had flows of about 770 m3/s. The water that backed up at Highway 39 was at least three feet higher on the upstream side of the highway.
Now I've been told that the river drops, on average, about one foot per mile so that makes the water at Roche Percee at least one and a half feet deeper. So some of the damage could have been prevented had the highways been to at least a 600 m3/s standard. Now everyone else is supposed to build to a one in 500 standard, everyone but the Department of Highways that is, and the meetings that I've been at, they (Department of Highways) say that they have no plans to take it to that standard. I guess trade and people don't count, rules and suggestions are just for Joe Public.
At one of the conferences that I attended, it was stated that the standard that the dams were operated for was for a one in a 100-year event and Sask. Watershed Authority was held to that standard.
Muncipal Affairs has stated that they think that 2011 was a one in 3000-year event. How much worse did these rules make this situation? Why wasn't the standard set at the one in 500-year event level plus a safety margin of 10 per cent?
In the RMs we had a river flowing from Griffin through Benson to the Souris River south of Frobisher, or over to Lampman and then to Alameda Dam and then down the Souris River. The question has been brought up as to how much of this water was caused by drainage? How much of the water coming down the Souris could have been prevented if there was no drainage? During the flooding, some farmers saw this as a chance to drain when everyone had flooding on their mind and would blame everything on the rain and flooding not where the true cause was. All of this has a snowball effect that affects everyone downstream and only ends at the Atlantic Ocean, if it ends there. We don't know what pollutants the water carries. We don't have a wetlands inventory map to see what happened here during this past year, and SWA doesn't have the manpower to check the whole situation out to come up with an answer.
At this time I wonder why has no public inquiry been done to see if there is an answer to any of the questions mentioned above, or doesn't anyone care?
Mayor of Roche Percee