Tuesday evening's storm left sections of Swift Current with flooding for a couple hours before water dissipated from the roads, and the City of Swift Current is happy with the way their drainage system held up.

There was 23.2 millimetres (.91 inches) of rain measured at the Swift Current Airport on Tuesday, and 28.4 millimetres (1.12 inches) of rain at an observer station on the south side of town.

The City's manager of infrastructure and operations, Mitch Minken, said with the water disappearing from the streets so quickly, it was a sign things are working well from an infrastructure standpoint.

"We had about four areas that were particularly high for a while," he said. "The system worked as designed, as the water was gone away probably within about two hours of the event at the worst case, so yeah, it's a nuisance no doubt, and there's probably some localized flooding there. But it takes time for the water to dissipate and get to the creek."

Minken said the rapid downfall of the rain was what caused the flooding.

"It was a pretty sudden rain; we had right around an inch in probably half an hour to 45 minutes, and that's a little more than our storm systems are designed to handle at one time."

He added that it was worst around the west end of the railway, but that an upgrade to the drainage system isn't in the cards.

"In the case of a rain such as that, it's really difficult to build a system that could handle an event such as that in any quicker fashion. It becomes really cost prohibitive to try and build enough pipe size to be able to move that much water, particularly on Railway West, which was probably the worst area. It's a very large collection area, and it probably all comes down to one point and even though we have a fairly large pipe in that area, it just takes time for it all to get to the creek."

Minken said such a project would be an excavation of eight to 10 blocks that would need "a very large pipe" to be put in, and he's not even sure that would be a possibility "with all the other infrastructure that's there."

But there is an area that could be improved. Someone reached out to the Swift Current Online newsroom about flooding at Herbert Street and 4th Avenue Northeast, and the City has applied to the Building Canada Fund for a grant for what is budgeted as a $3-million project.

Minken added that they're waiting to see whether the funding is available before looking at other options on how they would potentially move the project forward.

Additionally, with so much water in the intersections, Minken said when vehicles are ripping through them instead of finding alternate routes or going slowly it creates a wake that can cause a lot more damage.

photos courtesy Iona Dicks, Jennifer Dussault, Kathy Shostal-Kjelgren, and Rachel McMillan Payne

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