AquaDam® Flood Control | Manitoba

Flood Preparation, Flood Prevention, AquaDam, Flood Dam

LOCATION: Manitoba

SCOPE OF WORK: AquaDam® Flood Protection

Owner: Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation
Installation: Layfield, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Crews, Canadian Armed Forces, and Local Volunteers
Supplier: Layfield


In 2011 the Government of Manitoba, through Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, solicited a Request for Proposals for the purchase of Flood Protection Systems. Many factors were taken into account in the evaluation of various systems such as the product stability, system adaptability, material properties, resource requirements, initial capital cost, set-up costs, salvage/recovery costs, cleaning, and overall mobility. A major factor in the evaluation process included lead-time/availability. Layfield would be required to provide 18 kilometers of dams within 6 weeks.


Layfield was the successful bidder and within the six-week timeline was able to construct and deliver the 18 kilometers of AquaDams. Over 600 dams were packed into 40 cargo trailers along with the tools and equipment needed to set up the dams. In addition to the trailers, Layfield also provided 30 days of training and installation assistance to local crews on how to install and remove the dams.

During this six week period, Layfield mobilized all three of its Canadian manufacturing locations (Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto) to manufacture, fabricate and assemble the Aqua Dams. The polyethylene tubing was made in our Vancouver films plant, Edmonton sewed the starter dams and a large portion of the flood dams, while Toronto sewed flood dams and loaded the trailers.

During the 2011 floods in Manitoba, AquaDams were used to protect hundreds of homes, communities, and roadways throughout southern Manitoba. They were able to quickly deploy flood protection to a number of areas where sandbag crews were not available.

Lessons Learned

There were a number of lessons learned on this project. The first was the importance of ordering sufficient quantities of flood dams prior to the flooding season. Having 18 kilometers of dams at their disposal gave the customer options to deal with many more flooding issues than they would normally attempt.

The ease of deployment of the AquaDams became even more important when the flooding extended for months into the summer. After the first flood peaks in the spring, there was a shortage of volunteers to place sandbags and flood control devices. Having the AquaDams that could be placed and filled by two people let the flood protection continue even when the volunteers were gone. As the flooding moved across Manitoba from one river to the next all through the summer and into August the AquaDams let people protect their communities without requiring large teams of volunteers.

The last interesting development was the use of the AquaDams to keep a road open during the flood. Manitoba Highway 101 is an important link to the industrial areas of Brandon. By lining both sides of the highway with AquaDams they were able to keep the highway open. This helped get trucks and materials to Brandon's industrial park which prevented flood-related business closures. The Brandon industrial park was not completely cut off in this flood but access required an 80 km detour. Keeping highway 101 open showed how AquaDam can be used to maintain access during floods. Using AquaDams to maintain access during floods can be much more cost-effective than having to bring in supplies by boat or helicopter and can delay the evacuation of communities that could be cut off by flooding.

AquaDam® Flood Control

Flood control AquaDams are normally either 2.5 or 3ft (0.9m) in height. This height is easily deployed to protect individual homes; however, the majority of the AquaDams were placed on the top of existing earthen ring dikes to provide an extra freeboard to prevent overtopping from rising floodwaters and wave action.

AquaDam Flood Control dams can be unrolled in any direction to fit the geometry of the area being protected. AquaDam can be installed 10 times faster than a conventional sandbag berm for approximately half the cost. AquaDam's cost-effectiveness and ease of installation make them an ideal solution for flood protection.