FREDERICTON (GNB) – The River Watch program will officially start on Monday, March 12, to provide New Brunswickers with information on the status of rivers, potential risks of ice jams, and other flood issues across the province over the coming weeks.

“The strength of the River Watch program is based on the co-operation between experts from several jurisdictions to provide the most accurate forecasting possible to help New Brunswickers be as prepared and well-informed as they can be,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “Experiencing a flood can be a traumatic experience, and your government wants to make sure residents have the best information and resources at their disposal.”

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

“Our department's Hydrology Centre helps to forecast and identify potential problems,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “New Brunswickers should take advantage of every resource available to keep informed about the conditions that can lead to flooding, including the River Watch website and the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook.”

Each morning officials will receive a weather briefing, collect data from various sources, and use that information for river modeling and forecasting. The public will then be informed of any potential risks that are identified. The River Watch team is also improving its forecasting ability. A new model that incorporates the latest technological advancements will be introduced this year.

During the River Watch season, New Brunswickers should:

  • 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 may become unsafe to cross waterways on foot, snowmobiles or ATVs;
  • report ice jams or rising water. If you need advice, contact the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034; and
  • 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.

Weather warnings, traffic advisories and road conditions are also available online.

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