Unstable weather systems and runoff from overwhelmed waterways continue to threaten the Quill Lakes and points east.
While the Town of Wadena asks residents to be conservative in their water use to reduce the stress on already taxed pumping stations, the towns of Quill Lake, Foam Lake, Elfros and Wynyard remain under states of emergency.
Traffic from Dafoe to Wynyard on Hwy. 16 was originally rerouted up Hwy. 6 to Watson and east on Hwy. 5, but the stretch from Dafoe to Wynyard was later reopened. Cars and light trucks are able to take the detour from 4th Street East in Wynyard north then a short jog west to catch Grid 640 to Quill Lake, around the spot where Grid 640 has been washed out. However, commercial trucks and those pulling trailers still need to divert to Watson east on Hwy. 5 then south on Hwy. 35 to reconnect to Hwy. 16 to Yorkton (as of press time, Friday afternoon July 11).
According to Reeve Michael Yaskowich, the majority of the roads in the R.M. of Elfros are damaged.
“We have got only one route from east to west across the municipality,” Yaskowich told the Foam Lake Review. “North of 16 there is only one way across Birch Creek. It’s a real mess; you would be very close in saying that 85 per cent of the roads have had major damage.”
Between June 24 and July 7, the R.M. of Elfros received 98 millimetres (mm) of rain totalling 358 mm since April 1, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s weekly rain report. Hardest hit was the R.M. of Emerald, receiving 156 mm during the same time frame, totalling almost 500 mm. The R.M. of Big Quill 308A received 93 mm and 308B received 104 mm, bringing their totals up to 282 mm and 265 mm respectively. Most other area R.M.s received between 81 to 87 mm, with yearly totals averaging around 300 mm.
After his second tour of affected areas, Premier Brad Wall announced the opening of six flood-recovery centres including Yorkton, Carnduff, Moosomin, Grenfell, Esterhazy and Balcarres.
“Staff from the PDAP and a number of other essential ministries and agencies will be on hand at each centre to help Saskatchewan residents through every step of the recovery process,” Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter said. “They will provide information on who qualifies for coverage, what they might be entitled to, and how to fill out the necessary paperwork.” Each centre will include representatives from: the Canadian Red Cross; the ministries of Government Relations, Social Services, Health, Agriculture plus Environmental and Municipal Management services; SaskEnergy and SaskPower; Water Security Agency; the Emergency Flood Reduction Damage Program; and Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP).
The Yorkton centre is located at Gallagher Centre – Nexera Flexihall at 455 Broadway Street West and will be open Friday, July 18 from 12 – 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In total, 88 communities including four First Nations have received PDAP designations. As of July 9, there have been 427 PDAP claims filed.
The Water Security Agency (WSA) has also stated that with all the flooding that has occurred, water quality in lakes and rivers may be impaired due to agricultural runoff and sewage releases from flooded communities or septic systems. The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the local health regions are monitoring beaches in affected areas to determine if the water is safe for recreational purposes.
According to the WSA as of July 9, Good Spirit Lake was at 485.55 metres and continues to rise; it is predicted not to exceed 485.6 m, while Fishing Lake was at 530.59 m and not expected to exceed 530.65 m.
The Agriculture Knowledge Centre (1-866-457-2377) is available to respond to concerns from farmers and ranchers regarding the flooding situation, and to provide agronomic information and program advice.
Anyone dealing with the aftermath of flooding can use the government’s Farm Stress Line, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for confidential telephone counselling at 1-800-667-4442.
If travelling, be sure to check current road conditions, including traffic restrictions, at the Highway Hotline at saskatchewan.ca, or call 1-888-335-7623.
As of July 8, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) has received 239 pre-harvest claims from producers who have decided not to take the damaged crop to harvest. Prior to June 20 and the heavy rain event, producers had registered 6,207 unseeded acreage claims. SCIC is currently processing these claims and reports it will begin making payments to producers in the near future.
As for repairs, Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner announced that high-volume roads will be given priority. “Priority will be given to roads with high traffic volumes, roads that provide access to vital facilities such as hospitals, and restoring access to communities that have been isolated by flooding.”
(All numbers are toll-free)
Agriculture Knowledge Centre
Farm Stress Line
(24 hours, seven days a week)
Provincial Disaster Assistance Program
Open 7 days a week
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How to clean up after a flood