Hay River preparing for breakup season

A shot of the river nearby Hay River. (Supplied by Peter Magill.)
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Hay River is preparing for the breakup season amid record high-water levels.

The town said they were taking river mitigation efforts and warned residents they should prepare their houses for flooding if they lived in a risk zone, in a release on their website.

The town noted the map that highlights risk zones for flooding was drawn in 1984 and the current high-water levels means people outside the risk zones could experience flooding this breakup season.

A map of Hay River with the at risk zones for flooding highlighted in pink, (Screenshot from Town of Hay River.)

Evacuations could be on the cards for some residents, the town warns, including for Vale Island. The island’s residents were evacuated last year.

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“Now is a good time to consider COVID compliant private arrangements for accommodations of family and pets,” the town said.

Water levels on Great Slave Lake reached the highest level recorded since monitoring began in the 1930s this past summer.

Flows were at or near record high levels for much of the summer on the Tazin, Taltson, Lockhart, Kakisa, and Hay rivers.

The research found that initial modelling suggests water levels on Great Slave Lake will not likely return to normal historical levels for an extended period of time.


The town said more updates about evacuations would be coming in April. In the meantime, they said residents should speak with their insurance companies about flooding insurance and should shift movable house items higher up.

Updates will be provided to residents through the Town of Hay River Facebook page and the town’s breakup season webpage, where residents can also sign up for an email alert system. Residents can also call the information hotline, (833) 699-0188. 

Dates for upcoming public meetings are still being determined.

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