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Manitoba Water Services Board partners with municipalities

Myron Love
Manitoba Water Services Board partners with municipalities

It will be another busy year in Manitoba in terms of the construction of water infrastructure projects.

"We have 40 municipal water infrastructure projects worth $84 million in various stages of development throughout the province," said Doug Dobrowolski, president, Association of Manitoba Municipalities.  "These include upgrades to water plants and water lines, sewage infrastructure and renewal, and a lot of lagoons."

And they are all being undertaken with the financial help of the Manitoba Water Services Board (WSB).

The Water Services Board, Dobrowolski noted, is the only organization of its kind in Canada.

It’s an arm’s length agency of government that builds water infrastructure throughout the province on a 50/50 cost sharing arrangement (and cost recovery basis) with the municipalities, he explains.

"The need for these types of infrastructure projects exist all across Manitoba and we are pleased that our members can cost share them with the provincial government," says Dobrowolski. "It is only through partnerships that we can promote further growth and development in our communities."

Where projects are also available for Federal funding, each of the partners pays one-third of the cost.

Not only is the Manitoba Water Services Board different in being an arms-length branch of government, but it’s also intimately involved in planning each project that it supports.

The board helps to write the proposal, does the due diligence in terms of cost, and has engineers on staff who review the proposal.

The Board also costs out the project.

"All of this work," Dobrowolski reports, "is carried out over the winter months and a lot of the projects go to tender over the winter as well, so work can begin as soon as possible in the spring."

Several projects are either under construction or have completed within the last month.

The City of Portage la Prairie, for example, will be building a new waste-water pumping station – for a cost of more than $3 million – at its waste-water pollution control facility.

The City of Selkirk has $750,000 to secure an environmental and water rights license for a supplemental water supply to meet future water demands.

The City of Winkler requires a new forcemain to accommodate future growth.

The new forcemain, which will cost $2 million to build,  will enable the city to increase pumping capacity to the wastewater treatment facility.

The town of Virden requires a new wastewater treatment plant that will cost $4 million. The rural municipality of MacDonald is experiencing population growth and requires additional water supply to meet demands. That project will cost $3 million.

The RM of Pipestone is looking at a $4.5 million water infrastructure project to supply the community of Reston and rural residents with potable water.

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