MLA Blaine Pedersen announces $3.5 million in funding for a new water reservoir in Carman August 11. He is seen here with Carman Mayor Bob Mitchell at the Carman Water Treatment Plant - one of the locations under consideration for the new reservoir. (EMILY DISTEFANO)
The Town of Carman has received $3.5 million in funding from the provincial government to help pay for a new water reservoir.
Midland MLA and Minister of Infrastructure Blaine Pedersen was in Carman today, August 11, to make the funding announcement.
"This is a significant amount here for the Town of Carman - much needed and will help the community a lot," he said.
The money is part of a new five-year Manitoba Water Services Board capital funding plan. The plan will invest $33.65 million in water and wastewater infrastructure projects across Manitoba.
Carman's portion represents almost ten per cent of the total budget. Pedersen said all proposed projects are sent in to Manitoba Water Services for their appraisal.
"They do the due dilligence on it and obviously they saw the importance of this," he said. "It's not only for the Town of Carman but it also provides regional back-up for water with this reservoir. Water can be moved around to where it's needed so this reservoir in Carman becomes an integral part of the Pembina Valley Water Co-op system."
Carman Mayor Bob Mitchell said he is happy to see the project getting provincial support.
"It's great," he said. "It's a project that's really needed in the area and it gives us a huge storage capacity for water and it serves us very well."
The town is currently relying on two older storage facilities to house the community's water supply: the water tower and a tank under the water treatment plant.
Mayor Bob Mitchell said both spaces are old and in need of upgrades. The storage tank under the Carman Water Treatment Plant is approximately 50 to 60 years old; the water tower is even older. The new reservoir will first be used for additional storage and then eventually replace both the tank and the tower.
Connecting the system to the Pembina Valley Water Co-op is part of a wider water stewardship strategy.
"It's all part of their plans for drought-proofing and water shortages and everything, which we don't really have right now, but we will," said Mitchell.
Plus, the existing, old water treatment plant does not meet current regulations on trihalomethanes and disinfection. Mitchell said there is no concern about water quality though and the concerns are due to dealing with older infrastructure.
"There's something in this plant here that was acceptable 50-60 years ago but it's not anymore," he said. "The water's perfect. It's checked on a regular basis. The only real issue they have with the water here is what they call trihalomethanes in the water and that comes every spring with the water run-off, but they deal with that."
The town is also looking to accommodate future growth. Demand for water continues to increase as population rises, and Mitchell said they want more water capacity before it becomes a problem rather than waiting.
The total cost of the project will be $6 or $7 million.
Mitchell said there is no estimated time frame yet for the project, but he expects it to start within a year.
"They've got all the planning and stuff, now they have to determine where it's going to go," he said. "It'll be soon...if not started this year it'll be done next year."
A few locations are under consideration. The new reservoir could be placed in the Industrial Park, in the north west end of town near the soccer fields or by the Carman Water Treatment Plant.