It's been nearly one year since the Pembina Valley Water Co-op (PVWC) declared a State of Drought Emergency in the region.
Greg Archibald, CEO for the PVWC, says in August 2021 the Red River dropped down to 340 cubic feet per second (CFS) from 1,500 cfs two months earlier in June. Looking back on that time, he says it was all kind of a blur.

"It never went dry, so that was good. But the issue for us was that the level was so low that our pumps and intakes didn't work, so we had to bring in portables and we had the temporary pumps and intakes from June to December. So, just the effort to make sure they're fueled and make sure things are going so it was all a bit of a rush for us. Luckily, in the fall we got some rain and it turned around and it was a good thing."

In the end, Archibald feels the PVWC team did good, noting the region never ran out of water. 

"It put a lot of stress on our operators and our folks because people didn't really have a normal holiday season through the summer, it was disaster time so it was all hands on deck. People rose to the occasion whether it be fueling diesel pumps by the river or whatever we needed to do to just work our way through."

In fact, he says that same dedication was shown this past spring when the total opposite scenario played out with the 4th largest flood on record unfolding on the Red River, a situation no one expected to happen following the previous dry summer. Some staff was even put up in hotels so they could be within 30 minutes of PVWC treatment plant in the case of an emergency.

"Some folks have said to me 'this wasn't so bad for you this year', but actually it caused us to have quite a bit of work also," added Archibald, noting the spring flood created its own set of challenges.