Manitoba Historical Society
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Events in Manitoba History: Sullivan Drainage Commission (1919-1921)

On 17 January 1919, the provincial government established the Sullivan Drainage Commission. It was chaired by civil engineer John G. Sullivan along with municipal official Harry Grills and entrepreneur J. A. Thompson. The commission examined the system of drainage districts that existed in Manitoba at that time and, in December 1921, submitted a report to Minister of Public Works C. D. McPherson.

The report recommended:

  • the establishment of a permanent board to administer the Drainage Act
  • a moratorium on the establishment of new drainage districts in areas where land development and demand did not warrant the expenditure
  • the extension of existing drainage district boundaries to include all land draining into those districts
  • the equitable distribution of taxes on the basis of benefits received and relief from liability for damages
  • the improvement of existing ditches and channels by the provincial government, charging the cost of this work to the relevant drainage district
  • the construction of double dikes on main channels as a means of flood protection
  • where required, the establishment of new drainage districts


“Permanent drainage board recommended”, Manitoba Free Press, 23 December 1921, page 7.

Wet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba by Shannon Stunden Bower, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011, p. 85.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 December 2012

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