The RM of Edward has declared a state of emergency after 65 kilometres of roads within the municipality were closed due to water.
The municipality in the southwest corner of Manitoba borders both Saskatchewan and North Dakota. Reeve Ralph Wang said he expects the state of emergency to last at least two weeks.
Much of the problem stems from water draining out of Saskatchewan, said Wang and Ward 2 Coun. Debbie McMechan.
"There are laws about water draining in Manitoba that we have to follow that are different in Saskatchewan," McMechan said. "This has turned our RMàinto a watery ghetto causing infrastructure damage within the RM,àand it's become a safety problem."
McMechan said the council is concerned that in cases of emergencies, the ambulance and other response teams would not be able to make it down the roads. They have notified Prairie Mountain Health about the issues.
Along with safety concerns, McMechan said the committee is worried about the economic impact this is having on the agriculture and oil industries.
She estimates the farmland in Edward remains 90 to 95 per cent unseeded due to the wet conditions. McMechan said she knows some farmers who have not been able to put in a crop in three years.
"Farmers are a hardy bunch of people, but if this continues, it is an economic inevitability that they will have to do something," McMechan said.
Economic setbacks are likely to be seen by oil companies in the area due to travel restrictions.
"We have effectively shut down the oil industry within the RM,"àMcMechan said. "The trucks and heavy machinery are causing more damage to the road and we received a lot of complaints from residents."
The Manitoba government has been contacted about the ongoing issues within the area, but has not made any effort to do anything, said McMechan. Opposition Leader Brian Pallister and agriculture critic Blain Pederson met with residents over the weekend.
"They really listened to what people here were concerned about," McMechan said. "We are dealing with people's livelihood and that is something the government should be concerned about."
McMechan is concerned if some type of interprovincial body is not able to deal with the issues of drainage between provinces, it is likely this will continue to be an annual issue for the RM.
-- Brandon Sun