August 05, 2020

Water Security Agency to Increase Funding for Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program

The Water Security Agency (WSA) will be expanding the Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP) by $2 million this year to help Saskatchewan communities and residents respond to the challenge of widespread flooding.

The EFDRP was established in 2011 to provide financial, technical and engineering assistance to help individuals, communities and rural municipalities prevent or reduce flood damage to property.  The 2020-21 EFDRP budget will be increased from $500,000 to $2.5 million and the $100,000 funding cap per applicant has been removed for this year.

The entire Northern Saskatchewan region remains at potential risk due to ongoing precipitation and high water levels.  While some Northern communities have recently passed peak levels, the La Ronge and Air Ronge area to the Manitoba border remain particularly vulnerable for the coming weeks.

“We are facing an unprecedented year with many areas of Northern Saskatchewan facing a record rainfall since April 1,” Minister Responsible for WSA Greg Ottenbreit said.  “It is clear we have to both expand the financial capacity of the program this year to provide immediate assistance, and for the long-term we also need to better understand certain watersheds where limited information is available.”

A very large area of the province encompassing the Churchill River Basin, including the Beaver River Watershed, and parts of the Saskatchewan River Basin have received excessive precipitation this spring and summer, resulting in high water levels and flooding in some locations.  To gain a better understanding of the effect of elevated water levels in these areas, where there is limited historical data and few hydrometric stations, WSA will also use EFDRP funds to undertake a study and analysis of the situation when this year’s flooding event is over.

The purpose of this analysis will be to both (i) analyze the impacts of this year’s flooding events and (ii) explore potential flood mitigation options for the future.

EFDRP expenditures do reap long-term preventative financial benefits.  WSA has reviewed the program and determined each dollar invested in flood prevention saves a future $20-$30 in property damage.