NEWS
07/07/2014 10:08 EDT | Updated 09/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Manitobans scramble as higher dikes needed against flood

People living in an area just west of Winnipeg have been hit with news that their flood dikes are not high enough.

Firefighters are going door to door, telling residents in the Rural Municipality of Cartier they need to raise their dikes another two feet (0.6 metres) while others are being told they need to build them. 

- ON MOBILE? Watch the province's flood update at 1 p.m. CT here.

Officials are preparing people for a flood crest of a foot higher than 2011 levels, but say they want people to build dikes to a level three feet (one metre) higher to leave room for possible wave impact.

Reeve Roland Rasmussen told CBC News that might not have been properly communicated.

"I always tried to be clear, the water level is going to be a foot higher. You have to allow for some freeboard," he said.

Rasmussen said the water is coming so quickly that provincial engineers are unable to survey people's properties to tell them how high to build the dikes.

"There was no time for that this year because a lot of the engineers are busy. Provincial engineers are just busy forecasting, working [and] our most important thing right now is that diversion ...what they're doing to try and increase capacity at the diversion will help everyone down here."

The crest is expected to reach the area west of Winnipeg by late Tuesday or early Wednesday, which has made the situation even more urgent.

"Please use any stock piled sandbags you may have to reinforce your dikes. All attempts will be made to replenish your stock. Time is of the essence!" states an email sent by RM officials to residents.

The communities in the RM of Cartier include:

- Dacotah

- Elie

- St. Eustache

- Springstein

- White Plains

About 40 military members were in the region on Sunday. That number was to nearly double on Monday, to 75, as they help property owners get those dikes higher.

In the nearby RM of Saint Francois Xavier, the same race against the crest is on and there is a need for volunteers to help with around-the-clock sandbagging. 

Anyone who can lend a hand is asked to go to the RM office or call 204-864-2871.

Relief in Edward

Meanwhile, there is some relief in the RM of Edward, which is located in the far southwest corner of Manitoba.

For about week, access in and out of the RM and the town of Pierson has been cut off due to overland flooding on roads and bridges.

Coun. Debbie McMechan says while that's still the case — and though the RM is still in a state of local emergency — the water level is coming down.

That has allowed officials to work on repairing bridges and roads.

As well, some of the 71 people displaced from their homes because of the flooding have returned to their homes.

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