September 23, 2005
The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, Canadian Chair of the IJC, joins groundbreaking ceremony for Red River Floodway Expansion Project
The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States (IJC), will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Red River Floodway Expansion Project in Winnipeg on Friday, September 23, 2005.
The floodway expansion project is a response by the Manitoba and Federal government to a major recommendation made by the IJC in November 2000 in its report, Living with the Red. The report was requested by the governments of Canada and the United States after the catastrophic flood of 1997.
In its report, the IJC warned that there was a high risk of Winnipeg's existing flood protection infrastructure failing, and urged the city and the province to design and implement additional protective measures.
"The floodway expansion project is a significant step towards improving flood protection for the City of Winnipeg," said Chair Gray. "We continue, though, to emphasize, as we did in our 2000 report, that there is no single solution to the flood mitigation challenges in the Red River basin. The IJC made 50 recommendations."
"The launch of this project and the recent heavy rains in the region remind us of the devastation that flooding can inflict on our citizens - American and Canadian alike," observed Dennis Schornack, U.S. Chair of the IJC. "Governments at all levels need to encourage flood preparedness and find ways of solving problems across jurisdictions."
In its 2000 report (which had been preceded by an interim report in December 1997), the IJC recommended additional damage-reduction measures, both structural and non-structural, including restoration of wetlands, construction or improvement of levees and dikes, and the enhancement of flood forecasting and warning systems.
As part of this comprehensive effort, the IJC called on governments at all levels to promote a culture of flood preparedness and to provide opportunities for multi-jurisdictional problem solving and basin-wide, binational cooperation to develop a basin-wide flood mitigation plan.
The IJC has a presence in the Red River basin through its International Red River Board (IRRB). The IRRB monitors water quality at the boundary and tracks water use and development activities that may impact the transboundary resource. For more information about the IRRB and its activities, see www.ijc.org > Boards > International Red River Board, or http://www.ijc.org/conseil_board/red_river/en/irrb_home_accueil.htm.
The report, Living with the Red, can be downloaded from www.ijc.org > Publications, and http://www.ijc.org/php/publications/html/living.html.
The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.