‘Take action now’ as flood risk is high, NWT warns residents

A view of Fort Simpson from the Mackenzie River
A view of Fort Simpson from the Mackenzie River. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The risk of flooding is high across the Northwest Territories this spring and residents should prepare as soon as possible, the NWT government said on Friday.

The warning comes as high water levels and fast flow rates – the volume of water moving through an area in a given time – are recorded across the territory.

The Tazin River’s water flow near its mouth is more than double its average. Water flow of the Mackenzie River near Fort Simpson is similarly well above average.

“There will be a much higher snowmelt peak than usual, with a high likelihood of nearing or exceeding historic spring water levels,” the territorial government said.



“This may have consequences for home, cabin, and property owners in the NWT.” 

The territory said there will almost certainly be flooding in the Tazin and Taltson basins.

High water levels from record rainfall last year mean an elevated risk of flooding around these areas:

  • Hay River
  • Nahanni Butte
  • Fort Liard
  • Fort Simpson
  • Aklavik
  • Yellowknife’s Old Town

Communities across the NWT have already expressed concern about the risk of flooding as the snow melts and ice breaks up.

In Fort Providence, Deh Gáh Got’îê Chief Joachim Bonnetrouge estimated more than 15 cabins in the surrounding area could flood or be swept away. He told Cabin Radio community leaders and local environmental officers are working to find solutions, such as tying the cabins down.

Meanwhile, the Village of Fort Simpson’s flood committee has asked residents in low-lying areas to prepare for potential flooding by moving valuables to a safe place, elevating any electrical gear, furniture, carpets, or mattresses, and knowing their community’s emergency plan.