Quebec opens up emergency flood funds for Outaouais municipalities

Quebec opens up emergency flood funds for Outaouais municipalities

Ten west Quebec municipalities will receive emergency financial assistance from the province to help deal with intensifying spring flooding.

With more rain falling on the Outaouais region Friday, Quebec's Ministry of Public Security announced that ten municipalities would be eligible for disaster funding to help pay for damage to homes and municipal infrastructure that can't be covered by insurance.

The municipalities that are eligible for compensation are:

- Blue Sea

- Duhamel

- Gatineau

- Mansfield-et-Pontefract

- Montpellier

- Mulgrave-et-Derry

- Otter Lake

- Pontiac

- Ripon

- Saint-André-Avellin

​Quebec's disaster financial assistance program will also cover additional expenses incurred as a result of the deployment of emergency measures.

The community of Saint-André-Avellin, Que. declared a state of emergency Thursday after floodwaters forced a dozen homes to be evacuated.

Meanwhile, the city of Gatineau is watching the Ottawa River closely in some areas, making preparations to shut down streets, lay sandbags, and evacuate homes if necessary.

Monitoring Ottawa River closely

The Ottawa River Regulation Secretariat says it's been "quite busy" so far this spring monitoring river conditions.

"It keeps on raining and raining," executive engineer Manon Lalonde told host Hallie Cotnam on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. 

"By mid-April, we had already received as much rain in April as what we typically see in all of the month. So all of this water needs to get out of the system."

In some areas, the Ottawa River is the highest it's been in decades, according to Lalonde.

"Depending on where you are along the Ottawa River...some levels have not been seen in the previous 40 years. But in other areas, it's in the previous 15," she said.

"Rain at this time of the year really is the worst in terms of flood-wise, and that's because the soils are saturated. They're still frozen in some places," she added. "The vegetation is not out yet to suck all of that water into leaves and grass and all of that. So the water has to flow into the river and leave the system."

Lalonde and her team work closely with Environment Canada, dam operators, and municipalities along the Ottawa River to monitor water levels.