Premier Greg Selinger has expressed his disappointment after learning that North Dakota has increased the flow of water from the Devils Lake outlet from 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) to as high as 250 cfs without a filter being in place as agreed to in 2005.
"While we empathize with the residents of Devils Lake and the flooding they are enduring, it is essential that we protect Manitoba’s waterways from risk," Selinger said. "It is imperative the advanced filtration system agreed to in 2005 be put in place to prevent harmful algae, pathogenic bacteria, fish parasites and fish diseases from entering Manitoba."
The Canadian and the U.S. federal governments reached an agreement to install an advanced filter in 2005 but the filter is not yet in place. The recent increase in outflow underscores the need for action now, the premier said.
The Manitoba government has been at the forefront of pressing the federal governments in Canada and the U.S. to help find a solution to the problem.
"Manitoba has raised the issue more than a dozen times at various levels over the past eight months," Selinger said. "We believe it is possible to find a solution that will be mutually acceptable to both Canada and the U.S. – one that will see relief for the Devils Lake region from ongoing flooding and one that ensures Manitoba’s valuable water systems including Lake Winnipeg, the world’s 10th largest lake, are not harmed."
Transboundary water issues are among those being discussed at the Western Governors’ Association meeting currently being held in Whitefish, Mont.