High water levels in Alberta cause flooding, delays for farmers
EDMONTON -- Some Alberta farmers say they’re racing to get their fields seeded. Wet weather has caused delays, and added extra stress.
Curtis Henkelmann is trying to get his 4,000 acres seeded with wheat, canola and barley. He has to finish by June 5 to meet his insurance company’s deadline. But wet weather last year and recent rainfall has turned his fields into small pools.
“We’ve ran out of time basically,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
He said seeding isn’t possible right now Because if he did, his equipment would get stuck.
“The glass is full. We had 26 inches of rain here last growing season, and we were completely saturated.”
Lac Ste. Anne County officials are monitoring water levels in that region. According to the reeve, heavy winter snowpack, steady spring precipitation and high levels in feeder tributaries have resulted in overland flooding.
“This is the fourth consecutive year that the County has experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall resulting in extensive flooding — including in areas where flooding has not historically been an issue,” Reeve Joe Blakeman said in a news release.
Geoff Thompson and his brother Al are cattle farmers near Sangudo in Lac Ste. Anne County. They are experiencing high water on their property as well.
“It’s definitely risen a lot in the last 24 hours,” Geoff said.
The Edson area is also seeing a lot of water. The mayor says the Bench creek running through the community and Centennial Park is the highest he’s ever seen.
“So we’re monitoring the situation and certainly a lot of moisture in the ground around Edson right now,” said Mayor Kevin Zahara.
“We have had some infrastructure damage, such as catch basins. There’s of course some damage to roadways as well. And some residents have experienced some localized flooding in some of our neighbourhoods.Water in the basement and that sort of thing.”
The water even shut down a portion of Highway 16 near the city on Saturday. A washed out culvert forced the westbound lanes to close about 20 kilometres east of Edson.
Repair crews are on scene, but officials say the work likely won’t be finished until early next week.
Traffic is being detoured through eastbound lanes, which are still open.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Sarah Plowman