We didn’t get as much snow as we normally do last winter, but you should still take precautions to prevent basement flooding during the sprint melt. As the weather warms up and all that snow melts, the risk of basement and overland flooding increases in Winnipeg.

Here are some tips from the City of Winnipeg to help reduce the chance of your basement flooding during the spring melt.

Move Snow Away from Home Foundation

One of the best and easiest ways to protect your home is to clear snow away from your home foundation. This will help prevent snowmelt from seeping in through walls. You should also remove any snow that may have gotten stuck in your window wells.

Check Your Backwater Valve and Sump Pump

If you have a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system, be sure to check and maintain them regularly. This includes removing any material that might prevent the valve from working properly. Checking the discharge is also a good idea to make sure there is a clear path for water to flow.

You can test your sump pump by pouring water into the pit to trigger the pump to operate. The process should be done at the beginning of spring. Consider thoroughly cleaning the pump at least once a year.

If you don’t have a sump pump or backwater valve, you can arrange for a licensed plumber to install a backwater valve or a sump pit drainage system on a sewer line in the basement of your home. If you can’t tell whether or not your home has a backwater valve or sump pit drainage system, a licensed plumber may be able to help you.

Make Sure Water is Draining Properly

Check your eavestrough to make sure they are clear and pointed away from your home so snowmelt from your roof is directed away from your foundation.

Having water from your sump pump drain into your floor drain is illegal, it will increase the risk of basement flooding for you and your neighbours. It is also illegal to have your sump pump discharge drain onto neighbouring properties, lanes, sidewalks, boulevards, or streets. You should set it up so it drains onto your property where water can be absorbed, such as your lawn or flowerbed. You can also have them drain into rain barrels to use for gardening.

Check Street Drains and Clear them of Ice and Debris

You should also keep the drains in and surrounding your home free of garbage, grease, household hazardous waste, and debris. These items can lead to clogs in the drains in and around your home and can increase your risk of basement flooding.

Street drains can also be clogged with ice or be trapped under snow. If you’re having a hard time locating your street drains due to pilled snow, Google Maps Street View can help you locate them!

Consider Improving Drainage Around Your House

As the snow melts, pay attention to where the water goes, especially around your pathways, patios, decks, and driveways. These can settle overtime and cause water to drain back towards the house.

If you notice significant issues, consider taking steps to improve drainage around your house to prevent future flooding.


Sandbags are now available to residents who may be expecting or experiencing overland flooding at:

Residents should bring ID showing they live in Winnipeg.