Minot flood was man-made

Dan Reinhard


Look, I do not pretend to be an expert hydrologist, but I do have an opinion about our upcoming local flood prevention program. Every resident throughout the Souris River Basin was affected by the destructive deluge of the 2011 flood. Some residents lost homes and small businesses and others were left with other massive losses and destruction. Even those whose properties that were not inundated by the flood waters, still lived through great hardships. I believe man created that disaster and it was not merely the unheralded, unexpected and uncontrollable forces of nature.

Several months after the flood, I did some basic research on the Alameda, Rafferty and Lake Darling Dams. I did send the results as a Letter to the Editor at the Minot Daily News but it was not published. I was not surprised. I was able to convert the holding capacities of those dams from metric quantities on the Canadian websites to our system of measure. And albeit the seven inches of unexpected rain that fell in Canada, which caused the resultant flood, I believe there should have been ample storage capacity in those three dams to prevent the catastrophe which entailed. I found a map of the area that received that enormous downpour and computed the quantity of water that fell in acre feet. Even if all the runoff from that rain drained into the Canadian dams, there should have been enough storage capacity and if not, Lake Darling Dam could store the remaining. It should not have caused overflows.

Then why did the flood gates have to be opened with raging water flushed upon the residents of the Souris Basin? Well, that is the tough part. If you were to visit those areas you will probably find the answer. Those dams are being maintained at higher reservoir capacities than they originally were designed for. Those dams are providing recreational reservoirs for everything from lake homes to fishing and from resorts to boating. They were not constructed for that reason.

These dams were funded mostly by US dollars for one primary reason: to prevent flooding in the Souris River Basin and provide some irrigation. Once again I am not an engineer, but there is no doubt in my mind that if those reservoirs behind those dams were drained down to half their present levels, no other flood prevention would be necessary. Nor the tens of millions of wasted dollars facing the Minot community…