Hoeven, Dalrymple, Saskatchewan Premier Wall Work to Enhance Downstream Flood Protection

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven and Governor Jack Dalrymple this morning spoke with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall to discuss the management of three upstream Canadian dams in preparation for possible flooding in the Mouse River Basin during the spring of 2012. Canadian water authorities manage the operations of the Boundary, Rafferty and Alameda dams in the Province of Saskatchewan, upstream of Minot and other North Dakota communities.

“We are working with Premier Wall and Canadian authorities to explore all of our flood mitigation options, including earlier releases and building greater storage capacity,” Hoeven said. “We need to make sure that we keep the lines of communications open and take all the steps necessary on both sides of the border to strengthen flood protections for next year.”

In a conference call with Senator Hoeven and Governor Dalrymple, Premier Wall said that Saskatchewan authorities are currently releasing water from the system at the earliest date ever to create additional storage capacity in the spring. The premier said the unprecedented decision was prompted by higher levels of water in the watershed and a desire to be proactive ahead of potential flooding next year.

Wall said the Saskatchewan Water Authority is currently developing an operating plan for the 2012 season that it will present to North Dakota officials and the Army Corps of Engineers at meeting of engineers and technical officials on December 8 in St. Paul. At the same time, the International Souris River Board is working with the Corps on an operational review of the 2011 season to help enhance protection next year.

Hoeven and Canadian officials are also working to set up a follow-up meeting the week of December 19 or sometime in January in Regina.