Area farmers are actively replenishing their irrigation ponds as spring runoff makes its way east from the Pembina Hills. That water has found its way into the Municipality of Rhineland en route to the Red River via the Buffalo Channel as well as local drains and ditches.
"There's a fair amount of water coming in," said Craig Smiley, the Municipality's Public Works Director, on Monday. He reported that earlier in the morning, some water breached the Rosenheim Drain and ran over Road 9 until provincial crews were able to open up the snowpack underneath a nearby bridge and get the flow going again. "There are places where there's quite a bit of water," added Smiley who expects a few more regular trouble spots to flare up before the season is over.
"My guys have been out since Tuesday opening ditches, so I think we might be ahead of the water a little bit but you never know. With the amount of snow we have in some ditches, it's a wait-and-see kind of a thing. We're still opening ditches."
As of late Tuesday morning, the water had crept two within 6 miles or so of Altona.
Smiley isn't sure what to expect in terms of how high the level in the Buffalo Channel might rise.
"I'm not sure what the snow amount is in the Hills. I'm not sure if this is just a shot of water coming through right now or if this is all of the water already."
Overall, Smiley considers the recent thaw to be a quick one, noting it was just last week Monday that his crews were clearing snow, and a week later they are trenching ditches and dealing with runoff.