Editorial — July 2, 2014

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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NOTE: This editorial was written last Friday to run on Wednesday due to the Daily Herald’s office closure on Monday and Tuesday. Several days of rain changed some of the facts that applied when it was written.

 

It’s been an extremely wet spring with regular rainfall and some vicious thunderstorms.

While we have to count our blessings that the precipitation came after an extended dry streak that reduced the flood threat that gripped our area, the water does seem to be rising.

You may remember that with snow on the ground in Prince Albert that provincial authorities said this area was a high risk to flood again.

If you want to know what could have been, all you need to do is look at our friends to the east in Manitoba.

Soggy weather means that up to 400,000 hectares of farmland may go unseeded this summer, a scary amount for a province that seeds 13.5 million hectares.

The high water has also forced Manitoba to use a channel cut between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg that will see water drain from the former to the latter.

Of course our friends in Alberta have also faced high water problems.

The rainfall there had the Oldman River far over its banks in Lethbridge County. Elsewhere, Medicine Hat has a boil water advisory as the South Saskatchewan River is expected to peak on Saturday.

The Bow and Milk river basins also have high water.

As you may have guessed, if you are sandwiched between two provinces with flood issues and you’re part of the flood plain in the middle, you’re going to see some extra water at some point.

That fact materialized when the province’s Water Security Agency said earlier this week that the Gardiner Dam will be increasing its outflow. With all of the water coming from Alberta, Lake Diefenbaker is rising, with a peak expected next week.

Flooding is expected on some low-lying fields.

Up here on the Saskatchewan River system, we’ll see some above-normal water flows but nothing that will cause any extensive flooding.

If you’re keeping score, Ontario saw some high water this week when a thunderstorm quickly dropped two inches of rain. There have also been flooding issues in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and B.C.

A lot of this has to be tied to the fact that storms seem to be increasingly violent and localized.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an international environmental advocacy group based in New York, says that climate change is linked to this kind of extreme weather, along with the heat, drought, and fires that we are seeing around the globe.

We’ll resist the urge to climb on the global warming soapbox under than to say that the evidence is all around us. A study of global warming studies found that fewer than three per cent of scientists who had done research discount the fact that something manmade is occurring around us.

Climate change deniers are scientific outliers who are increasingly in an angry minority.

For now, all of us can hope that better times lie ahead for our friends in Manitoba and Alberta. In the long term, we need to take action.

 

Prince Albert Daily Herald

 

Organizations: Daily Herald, Prince Albert, Water Security Agency Natural Resources Defense Council

Geographic location: Manitoba, Alberta, Lake Manitoba Lake Winnipeg Oldman River Lethbridge County Medicine Hat South Saskatchewan River Milk river Lake Diefenbaker Saskatchewan River Ontario Quebec New Brunswick Newfoundland New York

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