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U of M Facility Testing Flood-Fighting Techniques

August 16, 2012 1:15 PM | News

A new wave testing facility at the University of Manitoba will mimic flood conditions and help researchers to better understand how to fight flooding.


The facility on the U of M’s Fort Garry campus is a first for Manitoba, and creates man-made waves to push water against specially designed sandbag barriers. A 1,000-square-foot pool of water is used to recreate the intense waves often seen during high winds on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

“As Manitobans, we face more than our fair share of flooding,” said civil engineering researcher and principal investigator Shawn Clark. “This research facility will allow us to take a made-in-Manitoba product and test it using established protocols to ensure its safety, effectiveness and reliability, and to make any necessary improvements.”

Durable sandbags called Wave Breakers act as the barrier and were created by Winnipeg company ITW Syn-Tex Bag. They are more durable than traditional sandbags, which require several volunteers to set up. Wave Breakers can be installed faster and are more reliant to wave action and fast-moving debris.

The outdoor facility was designed in accordance with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and sits south of Innovation Drive in the Smartpark Research and Technology Park.

Funding for the wave testing facility was cost-shared between the U of M and federal government.

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