City of Swift Current officials and a variety of agencies are keeping a watchful eye on runoff potential over the coming days and weeks in order to best manage runoff along the Swift Current Creek.
The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency has twice increased the outflow of water from the Duncairn Reservoir to clear ice and snow from the Swift Current Creek channel in advance of higher runoff volumes. The Water Security Agency released their March runoff forecast earlier in the week, with the majority of the Southwest placed in the Above Normal range.
Over the past number of weeks the City of Swift Current and appropriate agencies, including the Water Security Agency have been monitoring the snow pack and sharing data relative to the potential for spring flooding.
On March 8, the release rate at the Duncairn Reservoir was increased, prompting a reminder to the public to stay safe and keep children away from the creek as water flow rates increase. It is never safe to go on the ice at this time of year, as it can look safe from the top but can become very fragile.
The City of Swift Current's flood preparations is now meeting regularly to acquire information and develop action plans should the spring runoff result in flooding in areas throughout the city.
“Although the weather conditions ultimately determine how fast the upcoming spring melt will occur, we are committed to being ready for all possibilities. We have a flood plan in place, have intelligence in terms of past flooding that has taken place, and as we receive more information as to the future creek flow projections we will have a better understanding of potential implications,” stated Fire Chief Denis Pilon.
“As we receive further information for the Water Security Agency we will be informing the public. In the meantime, residents can take some precautionary actions in terms of shoveling snow away from the foundations of their homes to help alleviate water getting into basements as well as ensuring sump pumps are in good working condition. We also have sandbags and sand available free of charge at the city service center for residents wishing to fill them for personal use around their homes.”
It is hoped that throughout the next few weeks the weather cooperates with cycles of warm weather during the daytime and freezing in the evenings. This will allow for a slower melt resulting in lower volumes of water flowing down the Swift Current creek during the peak runoff.
“As we get closer to potential high volumes of spring runoff and receive information as to the volumes that are expected, the public will be updated. Emergency preparedness will continue with various agencies such as the RCMP, Swift Current Ambulance, Water Security Agency, and all city departments,” concluded Pilon.
Flood preparation documents are available at City Hall or the Fire Hall for residents who desire further information on potential plans.