In 2011, southern Manitoba experienced widespread flooding and Lake Manitoba experienced excessively high inflows through the Waterhen River, Whitemud River, and the Portage Diversion. This flood protection project is intended to improve lake level regulation and consequently reduce the likelihood of flooding along Lakes Manitoba and St. Martin.
The $540 million flood protection project consists of two 23km long outlet channels with associated control structures and bridge crossings as well as an 80km all-weather access road and a 24kV transmission line to the Lake St. Martin outlet channel control structure. The Lake Manitoba outlet channel will connect Watchorn Bay on Lake Manitoba to Birch Bay on Lake St. Martin and the Lake St. Martin outlet channel will drain Lake St. Martin from a point in the southeast to Willow point in Lake Winnipeg. Outlet Channel construction is scheduled to commence in 2020.
Manitoba recognizes its duty to consult with Indigenous peoples in a meaningful way. The engagement and consultation process is currently underway, with thirty-one Indigenous Communities identified as having the potential to be affected by the project.