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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton
(right) introduces Dr. Fisaha Unduche, the new director of the Hydrologic
Forecasting and Co-ordination Branch
February 24, 2014
ANNOUNCES DR. FISAHA UNDUCHE APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF MANITOBAN'S HYDROLOGIC
FORECASTING AND CO-ORDINATION BRANCH
Dr. Fisaha Unduche (fee-saw-HAW’ un-DOO’-chay), a flood modelling and
mitigation engineer, is the new director of Manitoba Infrastructure and
Transportations’ Hydrologic Forecasting and Co-ordination Branch, Infrastructure
and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announced today.
“Dr. Unduche is an experienced professional engineer who was selected based
on his considerable experience with flooding in North America and Europe,” said
Minister Ashton. “The new director brings a great depth of knowledge of the
province’s major watersheds and will lead the flood-forecasting team using his
experience from around the world and the foremost hydrological science and
The appointment is in addition to new technology, new forecast software and
more specialized team members the Manitoba government is adding to the
Hydrologic Forecasting Centre to bolster flood-forecasting capacity, he
Unduche will lead a team of 12 specialized full-time staff members who work
at the forecast centre year-round including three senior forecasters and two new
engineers who have been recently hired. Other members of his team include
computer specialists who assist with forecast system software and data
technicians who provide on-the-ground data from river and lake watersheds across
the province and outside data from Environment Canada and the U.S. National
Weather Service. During flood season, he will lead dozens more specialized
staff who assist in the forecasting process, the minister said.
Unduche has 15 years experience in hydrological and flood issues in North
America and Europe. For the last five years he has worked as the senior water
control systems planning engineer for the Manitoba government conducting hydro
meteorological analysis, hydrologic modelling and watershed studies to assess
and mitigate flooding. He has a PhD in water resource engineering and has
worked in various organizations as a water resources engineerand water resources
professor dealing with various flood-forecasting and flood-management
The minister also announced the forecasting centre is reviewing new
flood-forecasting software and is in the process of:
acquiring and installing 100 new automated weather stations, some of which
include soil moisture capability to increase the data available and to increase
22 new hydrometric stations for a total of 315 stations on Manitoba’s rivers
and tributaries; and
two additional portable acoustic Doppler river flow metres for a total of
All the weather and hydrometric stations transmit data by satellite in real
time, the minister said.
“With 100 years of combined experience and the unique shared experience of
working during the largest, longest flood in Manitoba’s history, our team is one
of the most experienced flood-forecasting units on the continent,” said Unduche.
“This province is the best place to work with leading-edge flood-fighting and
flood-forecasting technology and it’s is an honour to serve with this team
protecting Manitoba families and businesses from the threat of flooding.”
The minister said significant work continues to beundertaken towards
implementing recommendations from the Independent Flood Review Task Force report
Continuing work on a major flood mitigation study for the Assiniboine
River/Lake Manitoba basin which examines flood risks and potential mitigation
strategies for the basin. This study is examining many of the infrastructure
recommendations made by the 2011 Flood Task Force and is scheduled to be
completed later this year.
Continuing work on preliminary engineering work for an enhanced outlet for
Lake Manitoba and in making the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel
A review of the operating protocols for the Red River Floodway, the Portage
Diversion and the Fairford River Control Structure, which commenced in late 2013
and is ongoing with completion scheduled for early 2015.
The acquisition of highly accurate LIDAR topographic data which can be used
for development planning to avoid flood-vulnerable areas and for flood
mitigation and emergency response planning. In 2014, additional LIDAR data will
be acquired in the lower Assiniboine River and around Lake Manitoba.
The first 2014 spring flood outlook will be released later this week.