City building

If we're expecting or experiencing flooding in our community, stick to your emergency plan and get your emergency kit. Listen to the radio and other media for emergency updates. If your home is badly affected or you're asked to evacuate your home, please evacuate safely.

Sandbag dikes

If you choose to build a sandbag dike to protect your property during a flood, the following tips and video may be helpful.

Regular sandbags for this purpose are a specific size, 13 inches by 34 inches. The advantages of this size bag as opposed to a turnip or potato sack are that the sandbag is smaller, thus economizing on sand, and are lighter to handle and easier to put in place.

Use a proper size sandbag. Either stockpile bags or determine where a ready supply is available.

  • Fill bag two-thirds full. (roughly 24"). Do not tie.
  • Fold top of bag over loosely to allow sand to settle for best results.
  • Lay the top of the bag against the bottom of the previously-laid bag.
  • A plastic membrane, if desired, can be used in conjunction with the sandbags to reduce leakage.
  • If time permits, a more efficient result can be acquired by tapping the bags flat after laying. This will prevent holes between bags and prepare a flat surface for the next row of bags.
  • The subsequent layers of bags should be staggered like bricks so that each row will cover the joint of the bag below.
  • Do not use sandbags as an erosion protection system or where bags are subject to direct wave attack. If this cannot be avoided then support sandbags against a structure.
  • If possible, do not place bags or construct a sandbag dike bearing directly against a home with an old or questionable foundation system as the weight of the dike could affect the structural integrity of the home.
  • The number of sandbags needed for 100 linear feet of dike is:
    • 800 bags for 1 foot high dike
    • 2,000 bags for 2 foot high dike
    • 3,400 bags for 3 foot high dike

Remove all ice and snow from a strip of land at least as wide as the base of the dike. If the dike is to be more than 3 feet high, remove a strip of sod to provide better anchorage for the dike.

Common errors in sandbagging are:

  • Attempting to build, fill bags or construct a dyke too quickly or with inadequate help thus causing personal fatigue, possible injury, and/or construction of an inferior dyke.
  • Filling the bag too full, making the bag like a sausage, and requiring an additional bag to plug the hole left between bags.
  • Letting edges of bags overlap, thus again leaving a hole and spoiling the level for the next row of bags.
  • Bags are placed where they are easily destroyed by wave attack.
  • Thinking sandbags are a permanent means of shoreline and/or protection.

Basement flood reduction

Basement flooding can cause significant damage to your personal property and can have serious repercussions for the livability of your home.

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction offers information to help residents protect their homes from basement flooding.

Flood Ready – Government of Canada

The Government of Canada provides information on how to make your home flood ready, including expert advice, video tips and helpful checklists. Floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada.

Climate change, floods and your health

Floods are a common natural hazard in Canada and most floods are due to heavy or prolonged rainfall or snowmelt. The Public Health Agency of Canada provides information on dangers from flooding including injuries, diseases, and food contamination.

Be prepared: Power outages

What to do before, during and after a power outage.

Otonabee Conservation

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority posts information and updates about flooding in our region.

Flood Reduction Subsidy Program

Our Flood Reduction Subsidy Program helps residents cover the cost of flood reduction efforts, such as installing a backwater valve to prevent sewage backup into homes, downspout disconnections, and catch basin disconnections.