As the region continues to grow, so do the demands placed on the Pembina Valley Water Co-op and its infrastructure. The utility has two major projects expected to be finished by the end of this year, including the Letellier Reservoir expansion.

"We're definitely not sitting still here at Pembina Valley Water Co-op," noted C.E.O. Dale Toews earlier this week during Ripple Effect presented by the Red River Basin Commission. "Our Letellier reservoir is being expanded, so that's going to triple our capacity for treated water storage, and that will provide some additional help in those high demand times. That project is just at the completion stage now in the next few weeks."

The $16 million expansion project has added 4-million litres of storage capacity, and also includes a major chemical system upgrade and distribution pumping. Alongside that project is the estimated $7.8 million installation of a new Red River intake pipe to pull more raw water into the Letellier plant to be treated.

"We have a new intake pipe that was planned to go in last Fall," noted Toews. "We ran into some snags, so we're planning to get that in this Fall. That's a new 20 inch pipe. We found a deeper hole in the Red River, so we're going to put that in this Fall, and that's basically going to help us access water during low river levels."

Even with those two substantial projects expected to be completed before the end of the year, the utility continues to do its homework on further expansion of the Letellier plant.

"It is just simply too small for the demands being placed on it," said Toews. "That plant, right now, is 86 liters per second. We could add another 66 liters per second in the short term, with room for another 33 liters per second in the future. That project is really what's needed to give this whole system some breathing room, and help us manage the growth, as well as these peak season demands."

Engineering work has started on the membrane plant expansion at Letellier, and the Co-op board is looking to move ahead with the $25 million project as soon as funding is secured. $10 million has already been committed by the Province. 

Letellier water treatment plant