Red River Floodway

From Academic Kids

The Red River Floodway is an artificial flood control waterway in Canada first used in 1969. It is a 47-km channel which, during flood periods, diverts part of the Red River's flow around the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba to the east and discharges back into the Red River below the dam at Lockport. It can carry floodwater at a rate of up to 2,550 cubic metres per second. It was built partly in response to the disastrous Red River flood, 1950.

The Floodway was pejoratively nicknamed "Duff's Ditch" by opponents of its construction, after Premier Duff Roblin, whose Progressive Conservative government initiated the project. Subsequent events have vindicated the plan. The term is still sometimes used, affectionately.

Construction of the Floodway started on October 6th, 1962 and finished in March 1968, was a major undertaking with 76.5 million cubic metres of earth excavated—more than what was moved for the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal. It is one of three man made structures that can be seen from space (low Earth orbit): The others are the Great Wall of China and the Suez Canal. (There is a myth that the Floodway, along with the Great Wall of China, can be seen from the moon. This is false—no manmade structure can be seen from the moon.)

During the "Flood of the Century" in 1997, the volume of flood water exceeded the Floodway's design specification. Water lapped within inches of the city's dikes, and an extended dike (commonly known as the "Brunkild Z-dike") had to be built to prevent flooding from reaching around the southwest corner of the city. Primarily as a result of the floodway, the city suffered little flood damage.

In 2003, the province announced plans to expand the floodway, increasing its flow capacity from 2,550 m/s to 4,000 m/s, mostly by widening it.

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