The following report on the meeting between ALMS and the Province of Manitoba was provided by Cheryl Smith, President of ALMS:
On December 6th, 2011 ALMS Executive Members: Cheryl Smith, Don Clarkson and Jane Hook met with Deputy Ministers: Doug McNeil (MIT); Don Norquay (MWS) and Linda McFadyen (MLG) to discuss Lake Manitoba Water Levels among other items.
The meeting reviewed and the KGS report with the Deputy Ministers which helped in terms of staying focused on what the “plan” is at the moment to bring the water level down on Lake Manitoba.
As noted, it appears that things are on track as per the chart provided in the KGS report. ALMS will be communicating this to the membership along with the fact that we have asked that the communication and dialogue be continuous between Manitoba depts. and ALMS as things move forward. Everyone agreed that should things change, ALMS would again request a meeting to discuss what other steps Manitoba may be considering at that time.
The 2012 inflow forecasts were developed based on the average total inflows for the years following the past 4 highest inflow years since 1971, being 1976, 2008, 2009, and 2011.
The 2012 total inflow volume assumed in the KGS report is about 3.5 times the average for Lake Manitoba. The assumed total inflow includes Portage Diversion inflows to the extent that they occurred on average in those 4 years, but this should not be taken to imply that we are planning to operate the diversion in the same manner as we did in those four years.
Discussion that potential ice pile up during the Spring is a real concern with a lot of the members surrounding Lake Manitoba. Delta Beach members will be following up with MWS regarding an innovative project to address this threat.
Again, everyone recognized that the level of 813 in the Spring is not ideal however we are hopeful that this issue will be addressed in a long term strategy by Manitoba. Especially when 814 is considered Flood level.
Other topics discussed:
1. ALMS communicated that it remains committed to addressing issues with government regarding the man-made flood of 2011 and hope to keep working with government officials and politicians in finding short and long term solutions such as regulating Lake Manitoba levels and dealing with future environmental issues.
ALMS also communicated that it is hopeful that government will consider our organization for committees or consultation groups that are being considered. ALMS have members that are very knowledgeable about the people, area and history of Lake Manitoba.
2. Manitoba advised that DFA will make the call of when the “event” is over.
3. It is highly unlikely that DFA will be involved in the 2nd channel should the decision be made to build it. Manitoba is still seeking commitments from the Federal Government regarding the 1st ($100M) channel that has been built. The 2nd Channel is being considered and assessed “day by day” according to MIT Deputy Minister.
4. MWS Deputy Minister and everyone else agreed that the official “flood level” of 814’ ASL needs to be reviewed.
5. MWS will be providing water levels all winter and beyond.
6. Manitoba does not like the word “reservoir” when describing the use of Lake Manitoba.
7. Manitoba is open to the idea of more permanent capacity to remove water from the lake.