City Testing New Flood Barrier on Red River

The City of Winnipeg is testing a new flood barrier system to hold back rising river water this spring.

The rapid installation barrier system (RIBS) is a 50-foot polypropylene bag that measures four feet tall and can be quickly filled with sand based on demand.

Officials are using the system on the banks of the Red River at the Winnipeg Rowing Club, where flood preparations are well underway. The system comes from the United States and is used in a similar capacity in Fargo, North Dakota.

Public Works Flood Coordinator Scott Payne says it’s just one of about six new products that come out on the market every year to aid in the flood fight.

“We’re looking at the setup of the particular product and making sure it goes together as the manufacturer has stated,” Payne said. “Phase two will be to monitor the performance of the product, so as the river starts to climb and we have water against it, we will be monitoring seepage and movement of the bags.”

With double digit temperatures in the forecast this weekend, the city is anticipating a rapid melt and a quick rise in the river levels. video