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River Watch 2021 has begun

News Release

Justice and Public Safety
Environment and Local Government
* Public Alert - River Watch

River Watch 2021 begins today

10 March 2021

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The River Watch program, which officially started today, will provide New Brunswickers with information on the status of rivers, potential ice jams and other flood issues across the province over the coming weeks.

“The 2020 freshet was a welcome respite after two record-breaking years,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh J. Flemming. “It would be a mistake, however, to count on another year of minor impact. Not only is it important to secure your property and have a 72-hour preparedness kit, but New Brunswickers need to check with insurance providers about flood insurance. If affordable flood insurance is available to you, you are ineligible for disaster financial assistance related to flooding.”

The River Watch program is a collaboration between the Department of Environment and Local Government and the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Other partners include NB Power, watershed groups, federal and provincial governments as well as agencies in the United States involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flow in the province's rivers and streams.

“The team at the Hydrology Centre is always working to improve its forecasting ability and to deploy the latest technological advancements,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman. “They are well prepared to work with our River Watch partners and other organizations to deliver the most accurate and up-to-date information possible to keep our residents safe during this potential flood season.”

Each morning, River Watch officials, including hydrology experts, receive a weather briefing and collect data from several sources to develop river models and forecasts. The public is then informed if there are potential threats.

During the River Watch season, New Brunswickers are advised to:

  • be prepared for possible flooding and have a plan to evacuate and be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours;
  • move belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding;
  • avoid the banks of waterways, as they become dangerous this time of year. The water is cold and currents are swift and could carry debris;
  • be aware that, as ice continues to deteriorate, it will become unsafe to cross waterways on foot, in cars, or on snowmobiles or ATVs;
  • call the River Watch toll-free number, 1-888-561-4048, to receive the latest recorded water levels, forecasts and public advisories;
  • call 511 for road closures and conditions or check online;
  • read helpful tips, the latest forecasts and public advisories by visiting the River Watch website, or by following the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook; and
  • report significant ice jams or rising water. If you need advice, contact the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.

Weather warnings are also available online.

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization co-ordinates preparedness for emergencies. It also co-ordinates provincial response and recovery operations during emergencies and administers disaster financial assistance programs.