GRAEME BRUCE/BRANDON SUN
A fire truck works around the clock in Reston, pumping water away from the town and into the outskirts. Reston saw flood waters as high as four feet after it was hit with between six and eight inches of rain on Friday night, affecting around 400 of the town's residents.
Insurance adjusters are already sifting through the wreckage in Reston after torrential downpours ravaged the area, forcing the RM of Pipestone to declare a state of emergency this past weekend.
As homeowners were left trying to put the pieces of their lives back together on Monday following the 17 centimetres of rain that fell on the community this weekend — and mindful of two more centimetres forecasted for today — one question kept floating to the surface: Who will be on the hook for the damage?
Jean-Marc Prevost, spokesman for the Emergency Measures Organization, said the initial inspection on the damage is still in its preliminary stages.
"Right now our EMO staff is working with municipal officials," Prevost said, adding that it will take some time to sort through the assessment process. "It’s very early on and the EMO staff will get a better appreciation of the on-the-ground impacts of the heavy rain event and the flooding that occurred and then we will move forward from there."
RM of Pipestone Reeve Ross Tycoles said Premier Greg Selinger called him yesterday to offer the community his sympathies after the flash flood.
"I was happy to see that (Selinger) recognized that we have an issue and he said he would get back to us on disaster assistance as soon as he can," Tycoles said.
While there was no commitment from the province for disaster financial assistance during the conversation with the premier, Tycoles said he walked away from the call with the impression that the government was going to step up and help.
The community, where more than 70 homes are believed to be impacted by the flood, looked like a disaster zone yesterday as personal belongings that had come into contact with sewage lined the streets.
"If you drive down the street there is just tons of stuff from carpet, couches and appliances on both sides," Tycoles said.
The RM website is encouraging all residents to take as many photos of the damage to ensure proper documentation for insurance companies and DFA.
The water came from the west side of town pushing its way east into Reston.
Municipal officials, town employees and volunteers used pumps donated by the oil industry to pump the water away from homes.
"We’re ahead of the game right now and if we don’t get any more rain we’ll be all right," Tycoles said.
"The oil industry was huge for us. I think at one point we had five water-hauling trucks of theirs and vac trucks, so we were very fortunate that we had a lot of access to pumps and other things in the area."
Church groups and community leaders worked to help people clear out their basements and Tycoles said it is a community effort that will continue until everything is back to normal.
By Monday night, more than 25 areas of roadway were closed in the RM — which is still under a state of emergency — and that number is expected to climb higher.
"As the water continues to flow we’re wiping out more and more roads," Tycoles said.
Some questioned whether the municipality’s infrastructure, particularily the sewer and drainage systems, were adequate to handle the rain.
Tycoles said the community upgraded its impellers after the 2011 flood to push more water.
To the south, the RM of Albert is also under a state of emergency, where waters ripped through the area.
"The road, the crops, everything has a lot of water damage," Reeve Tom Campbell said. "We’ve got water running over roads in areas where it wasn’t this bad in 2011. We still had a lot of repairs from 2011 and we are pretty much back to square one."
Campbell said some low areas of cropland will be destroyed due to water starving the crop out.
Provincial warnings have also been extended for areas in the northwest and Interlake regions.
Water levels in rivers and creeks increased significantly due to the rain, with some rivers ending up higher than their spring peaks.
Pipestone Creek, for example, rose 6.5 feet, matching its spring crest. Ochre River rose five feet and is about a foot higher than its spring crest. The Turtle River rose seven feet over the weekend, though it didn't quite match its spring crest.
The Garland River, which rose five feet and is now six inches above its spring peak, is still rising, although other rivers and creeks appear to have crested.
The weekend brought a two-day total of nearly 100 mm of rain to Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 25, 2013