In a recent public survey, the International Souris River Study Board asked people to share their experiences with water levels at different elevations along the Souris River. The survey, which was available in hard copy and online, ended Nov. 12.
People from communities in North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba responded to the survey. In general, results point to a concern for the protection of wildlife and ecosystems as well as consistent water supply for agriculture, municipalities and recreation purposes. Results are still being tabulated as of this writing and will be posted to the board website when available.
“There is a definite desire for better flood control and a variety of views on how reservoirs should be operated,” said Debbie McMechan, Canadian co-lead of the study’s Public Advisory Group. “Understanding the way that reservoir operations and water levels along the Souris River affect the public on both sides of the border will help the study make better recommendations.”
Following significant flooding in 2011, the study board was created to review operating rules and recommend potential measures to reduce risks of flooding and maximize the benefits to other water uses in the Souris River basin.
As part of the study, water science engineers will coordinate models to test and evaluate different operating scenarios. The first phase of work using public input is now underway, and is expected to be completed in February 2019.
According to the Public Advisory Group’s US co-lead, David O’Connell, “Public input is essential to the study. Results from this most recent survey will help us to pinpoint key locations of interest in the basin, and form a geographical perspective of the positive and negative impacts of different water levels and flows in each of these key locations.”
If you missed this chance to provide your input, don’t worry. The board is committed to providing ongoing opportunities for public involvement and information sharing throughout the study process. To be informed of future surveys, and receive an email notification when news or reports are available from the study, subscribe to updates on the study webpage.