New program launched to aid Sask residents with emergency flood challenges

Flood waters creep up to a pedestrian bridge at Little Red River Park in the north end of Prince Albert. (Photo not from this year) -- Photo from the City of Prince Albert.

A new program is being launched to help Saskatchewan residents respond to flooding challenges within their communities. 

The Water Security Agency (WSA) announced today that it will be launching the Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP), up to $500,000 is planned to be invested in the program in 2022.

The EFDRP provides financial, engineering, and technical support to evaluate the potential flood risk to buildings and to identify options to mitigate the risk when flooding is imminent.

The program was first established in 2011 to provide assistance with implementing emergency flood damage protection measures for communities and businesses to prevent damage from imminent risk of flooding. 

Services provided by the program include client discussions, site visits, temporary relief through pumping, and cost-share funding for permanent flood defenses.

50% of costs for technical advice and 25% of costs for emergency pumping or construction of protection measures will be provided to cities by the Water Security Agency through the EFDRP.

Communities needing assistance from the program must inquire through their local municipal government. The WSA will fund the municipality at the appropriate rate. 

The Water Security Agency has determined each dollar invested in flood damage prevention saves a future $20 to $30 in property damage. 

While many parts of the province have seen low or below normal snowfalls this winter, spring runoff is variable and can cause localized flooding if conditions are right.

Emergency flood protection measures covered by the program include pumping to prevent damage, construction of permanent berms, diversion works, or channel improvements, and the installation of culverts and gates. Relocation of the residence may be covered if it is the least cost option, but the grant will be capped at $100,000. 

Sandbagging, snow removal, temporary ditching, and landscaping are a few measures not covered by the program. 

More information about the EFDRP can be found on the Water Security Agency website or by visiting a Water Security Agency Regional Office.