Aqua Dam Flood Control - Red River 2009

LOCATION: Manitoba

TIMEFRAME: April 2009

PRODUCT: 250 Flood Control Aqua Dams - 3' by 100' Coffer Dams

PROJECT PARTNERS: Owner: Government Regulator Supplier: Layfield

The Challenge

In April of 2009 Manitoba was expecting the second worst flooding in 100 years. This created some unique challenges for municipalities located along the Red River. Many rivers in southern Manitoba had risen due to a rapid snow melt brought on by rain and 18 C temperatures in the prior week. A number of those rivers are tributaries that feed into the Red River which was already starting to swell. The waters of the tributaries were all expected to join the Red River at roughly the same time causing the large flood.

The regulator commissioned Layfield to build as many Flood Control Aqua Dam™ Coffer Dams as Layfield could muster. The governmental department Layfield worked with put in an order for 25,000 feet of Dam to be built and shipped to the area, before the flood waters arrived. At this point people were looking for flood control options they could use to battle the rising waters on short notice; Layfield took up the challenge by offering their unique product.

The Solution

Layfield was asked to produce dams that would be able to hold back 24 inches of water. The product chosen for the job was the 3’ high by 100’ long Flood Control Aqua Dam™. Aqua Dam™ battles water with water; three feet of liquid held in two tubes, within the dam, are able to keep in check two feet of water. The tubes prevent the dam from rolling, giving it the ability to hold back water. The lightweight, easy to handle, Flood Control Aqua Dams™ made them perfect for deploying quickly and safely.

Weather predictions are never perfect and the flood waters started coming faster than initially anticipated. Layfield compensated by speeding up the production timeline, delivering the product ahead of the original schedule. The Edmonton fabrication plant had to step up its production levels to meet the demanding order. Every available employee was brought in to help build the dams in record time. What would normally have taken six weeks of full production time was achieved in only two weeks. Even employees from the office and field were brought in, effectively doubling the staff in the fabrication plant.

Layfield mobilized service technicians headed for Manitoba, ahead of most of the dams, to train the regulator to install the coffer dams themselves. Half a dozen Flood Control Aqua Dams™ were erected during the initial training, giving the governmental department another tool to potentially protect their citizens and property.

The Aqua Dams™ proved ideal for deploying quickly as they can be deployed in 1/24th the time of sandbags. To put this into perspective 2 people can install one of these dams in half an hour where it would take 5 people 4 hours to place the equivalent number of sandbags. The easy to transport Aqua Dams™ used in Manitoba demonstrated their usefulness in places that were inaccessible by trucks delivering sand bags.


Once the floodwaters of the Red River arrived the Flood Control Aqua Dams™ performed exactly as expected. The 5 full truckloads of 250 coffer dams, if placed end to end, could create a protective barrier totaling 25,000 linear feet.

The entire process, from the first order to the last installed Aqua Dam™, was accomplished in only 3 weeks. It took a tremendous amount of coordination within Layfield as well as with the Regulator to fabricate, transport, and install the Dams in time to protect against the cresting Red River.

The amount of money saved by the regulator can keep growing with every flood season as the Flood Control Aqua Dam™ was designed to be reusable. It takes an estimated 3400 sand bags to create a protective barrier equivalent to that of 3’ high 100’ long Aqua Dam™. At roughly $3 a sand bag not including transportation, labour and disposal costs, the savings using Layfield’s dams were substantial. After the flood had passed the Flood Control Aqua Dams™ were then carefully packaged and saved for the next emergency. The Department that Layfield worked with was very satisfied with the product and has become a trailblazer in using this innovative technology for flood control.


close menu