The Definition of Insanity

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity was doing “The same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ” yet that is exactly where Manitobans find themselves today as a result of the current management of Lake Manitoba.

Today, in the Winnipeg Free Press, an article raises serious questions about the dangerous situation which has been allowed to re-occur on Lake Manitoba over this summer. It also places a spotlight on the rationale behind these decisions – and their impact – which are equally disturbing.

ALMS is deeply concerned about this situation, and is awaiting word from the Province on their action plan to avoid a repeat of the series of decisions which resulted in the $1.5 billion dollar flood of 2011. ALMS is alarmed that current actions by the Government of Manitoba seem to be repeating the erroneous path of decisions which lead to the disastrous flood of 2011. Due primarily to the recent use of the Portage Diversion, we again find an intentional series of decisions have resulted in Lake Manitoba now well beyond its operating range. We face a similar situation to that faced in the winter before the flood of 2011 – a large body of water, less than 100 miles from Winnipeg, has been intentionally filled beyond its operating capacity, with no safety margin or capacity to handle a flood emergency. The damage last time cost over $1.5 billion dollars, has hurt people, and a $500 Million class action lawsuit sits unresolved. Two years later, we see the Province has put the Lake into a similar situation – When will this insanity cease?

Here is an excerpt of the article in today’s Winnipeg Free Press where Dr. Scott Forbes points out the issues behind the latest decisions to raise the Lake to its current state:

Lake Manitoba has swollen to dangerously high levels yet again and residents around the lake are wondering why. Rising water levels in spring are no surprise, but what is surprising is most of this rise is due to an extended operation of the Portage Diversion for what appear to be gratuitous reasons.

To read the full article, click here


Still no word or response from the Premier… And the Lake continues to Rise

After sending the Premier an urgent letter last week expressing our concern about his decision to again use the Portage Diversion, forcing  water levels of Lake Manitoba above their operating range, ALMS is disappointed to report that we have yet to hear anything back from the Premier or his representative.

Mr. Premier РAre you listening? 

ALMS is deeply concerned that your actions have forced Lake Manitoba well above its operating range, and the people of Manitoba are at risk of a repeat of the actions which led to the $1.5 Billion Dollar Flood of 2011.

ALMS raises alarm and calls on Premier to stop raising Lake to avoid repeat of the past

ALMS has sent a letter to the Premier today to raise the urgent issue of stopping the use of the Portage Diversion. Current actions by the government are forcing Lake Manitoba to rise above its operating range even though the Assiniboine River has capacity to handle additional flow.

By raising the Lake, it reduces the capacity of Lake Manitoba to safely handle a flood emergency. This in turn makes it difficult to protect Winnipeg and other downstream communities without serious financial risk and cost to Manitoba.

It is important to understand that prior to the 2011 flood, a similar series of decisions by the government resulted in Lake Manitoba being well above its operating range prior to the Spring flood of 2011. By removing the safety margin of the Lake being within its operating range, this action, in turn contributed to the damage of the 2011 flood. It is therefore essential that the Lake be kept within its operating range except in the case of an actual flood emergency. Otherwise, Manitobans are needlessly put at risk.

A high lake level puts Manitobans at a much greater risk for a repeat of the damage of the 2011 flood.

From ALMS perspective, it appears the Province is repeating the decisions of the past. As has been said many times, those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat it. ALMS is determined to ensure the Province does not repeat the past error of pushing the Lake beyond its operating range – except in an emergency.

Below is a copy of the Letter sent to the Premier today:

Mr. Premier,

Re: Water Levels of Lake Manitoba

I am writing to you on behalf of the over 5,000 citizens who own residences, businesses, and farms surrounding Lake Manitoba. We note, with alarm, that Lake Manitoba is now more than a foot above the maximum of it’s operating range as a direct result of the decision to operate the Portage Diversion, again.

We are deeply concerned that by choosing to run the Diversion and raise the Lake above it’s operating range, you are knowingly placing the Lake in a dangerous situation, with no excess capacity left to handle flood waters or events such as what has recently happened in Alberta.

We ask that you immediately close the Portage Diversion to avoid a repeat of the past. The Citizens of Manitoba can not afford another $1.5 Billion Dollar disastrous flood.

An official response to this request would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Cheryl Smith
Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders