Winkler officials are aware of the frustrations some residents are feeling after the second time in about five weeks the city's pump stations were overwhelmed by heavy rainfall. Late Monday night, the city again asked residents to conserve and limit water usage to help take pressure off a system being severely taxed from 75 to 100mm of rain in less then 24 hours. The rain, which came in two waves on Canada Day, left some streets flooded and a number of homes with water in their basements. A similar scenario played out May 24th.

"I can understand the frustration when you get water in your basement, it's not a fun thing, and it causes a lot of work, so we we don't take that lightly," said City Manager Jody Penner. "I would say, that overall, our drainage system has worked pretty well. That being said, it does cause problems, but on an ongoing basis, the city is looking at the ways we can improve the overall system."

Those improvements are focused on both new developments and existing neighbourhoods.

"We have new standards when new developments are being made in new neighborhoods, we have new and higher standards to which we need to work on drainage," he explained. "We're also working on the things we can do to improve existing and established neighbourhoods within the city. For example, last year, we did a project where we improved the drainage all the way from Main and Stanley to Highway 32, and that involved some underground piping to improve the drainage, and it's really done a good job of that."

Drainage improvements are also part of this Summer's infrastructure agenda.

"This year we're doing a project that will improve Mountain Avenue, so it'll come down Crystal Crescent and head towards the drainage by the railway tracks, and that will also improve some of the drainage in the downtown area," he said. "Next year, we plan to do phase two of that project, and then we continually look at different areas, and what are the highest priorities in terms of how we can improve drainage."

It has been a wetter than average year in Winkler, Morden and the R.M. of Stanley, and Penner said it does seem weather patterns are changing.

"When we look at the intensity of some of the storms we've had, even over the last five years, it seems to be increasing," he said. "And maybe, in the past, what was considered a one in 25 year event is maybe now happening one in 10 years. We're just starting to notice some of those changes in weather patterns, which means we need to also adjust some of our plans, which we're doing."

Penner is grateful residents have been quick to respond to the requests to conserve water, whether it was under drought conditions just a couple years ago, or recently as the community faced excess moisture. He also continued to urge residents to ensure proper water management around their properties.

"With ground sloping, with our gutters and our downspouts, making sure all of those things are in place," he noted. "Making sure we're not putting sump pumps and directing them into our sewer system, that just further compounds the problem when we have issues like this. Another thing would be not flushing things down the toilets that aren't meant to be flushed, because when we have these high rain events, and our pumps are working overtime, it further complicates it when we get plugs from things that aren't meant to be in the sewer system."

Residents were told they could resume normal water usage Wednesday.