The Council for the City of Winkler gave first reading to a by-law during its last regular meeting to borrow up to $ 8 million for the upcoming expansion of the city's water treatment facility. The by-law states the city can borrow up to the full $ 8 million at the established interest rate, which is the maximum amount the project could potentially cost the city. 

$ 5 million of the $13-million project is being funded by the Manitoba Water Services Board.
Mayor Henry Siemens says the proposal will now be sent to the Manitoba Municipal Board for approval, a necessary step when any municipal body takes on debt.

Because of the extreme importance of this project, Siemens says Council expects it will receive additional support, either from the Manitoba Water Services Board or federally, from the Disaster Mitigation Adaption Fund. But, even if there isn't extra support, Siemens says Council is prepared and is ready to move because the expansion needs to happen.

Currently, Winkler's plant can treat up to 42 litres of water per second. Once the expansion process is complete, the plant will be capable to treat up to 113 litres of water per second.

Not only will the expansion greatly increase the amount of water the plant can treat, but it will also increase efficiencies. 

"Today we're about 75% efficient," says Siemens. "Meaning that when we draw out that water from the brackish part of the aquifer underneath, about 75% of it, we're able to treat to drinking water standards. Our hope after this is that we can get as high as 90% efficiency out of that."

Presently, Siemens says the reject water ends up in the city's lagoon, is settled there, and is eventually released downstream. Having less reject water enter the lagoons, will leave them with additional capacity.     

With all projects, Siemens noted Council is trying to build everything with future-proofing this area as much as they possibly can in mind. "And in this instance, we're looking to build out population-wise, both water and wastewater treatment to a population of 25,000 plus people in Winkler." 

Planning on the wastewater treatment expansion is also advancing. Siemens says Council expects that the project will likely come to fruition later this year as well.

A project that's regional in nature