August 3, 2021

PVWC Drought Stake Holder Meeting Update

A meeting was held by PVWC and stake holders. The following priorities were discussed:

  • PVWC’s Technical solutions
    • Install a temporary dam at the Marais by Letellier to increase raw storage capacity at the Letellier water treatment plant
    • Collect Bathymetric data on the Red River to view the current profile depths
    • Investigate solutions for insufficient water levels above existing intakes
    • Design and explore feasibility for an off-stream storage pond
  • Most Towns/Municipalities have reduced their water usage by 15% – 20%
  • All 14 municipalities have passed a drought state of emergency
  • The PVWC is meeting with some members of government later today to discuss PVWC’s technical solutions

PVWC is investigating multiple options for drawing water from Red River at low levels:

  • Increase the level of the river at the intake structures
  • Lower the intake on the river
  • Find other sources of water

July 30, 2021

PVWC is Monitoring and Developing Plans to Weather the Drought

PVWC and its member municipalities are developing plans to reduce water usage by 15%, please check with your water provider or municipality to understand specific restrictions for local water usage.

PVWC is investigating multiple options for drawing water from Red River at low levels:

  • Increase the level of the river at the intake structures
  • Lower the intake on the river
  • Find other sources of water

Plans are being developed to use the Marais near Letellier to temporarily store water to buy time for winter preparations. Daily monitoring is occurring at each water treatment plant and the Red River intakes.

July 28, 2021

Pembina Valley Water Cooperative (PVWC) and its Supporting Member Municipalities Declare a “Drought State of Emergency” due to low Red River Level

What’s Happening

In a meeting on July 27th, Pembina Valley Water Cooperative and its 14 Municipalities in South Central Manitoba declared a Drought State of Emergency. The meeting was attended by representatives from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization.


The Canadian Drought Monitor reporting agency has designated Manitoba in a D3 – Extreme Drought (20 – 50 year) event as reported by the Manitoba Government. The US Drought Monitor expects this to continue past September.

Why is this a Problem

Water source levels and flows for PVWC at Stephenfield Lake and the Red River have had significant reductions over the past month. The concern is the Red River could dry up by the end of September at current weather projections or if flows are maintained, it will freeze at low levels thereby not allowing water to pass underneath the ice.

What’s Happening Now

For the four-week period of June 25 – July 27, the Red River flow at Emerson, was reduced from 1532 cubic feet per second to 752 cubic feet per second, a reduction of half. A similar reduction in the future would result in the river going dry. The river level is down 20.5 inches (520 mm).

The Stephenfield Lake has dropped 20 inches (508 mm) below the spillway. Of concern is that it dropped a foot (305 mm) in one week.  It is stabilized with under flow changes but need continuous monitoring.

PVWC’s Letellier Water Treatment Plant intake is now above water and the reduced level on the Red River has required installation of temporary pumps to deliver water to our plant.

The Morris Water Treatment Plant intake has less than 10 inches (250 mm) over the screen.

Response Plan

The objective is to regionally coordinate an “all in it together” effort to combat the water shortage.

Next Steps:

  1. Designate a “Severe Stage” requiring a 15% reduction in water usage through conservation.
  2. Investigate ways to store water that is currently flowing in the Red River today:
    1. The Letellier plant has about 1.5 months of raw water storage.
    2. The Morris plant has about 6 months of raw water storage.
    3. Potentially have PVWC supply more water to Winkler to conserve the aquifer and have Winkler supply PVWC customers in the future if the Red River goes dry.
    4. Potentially have PVWC supply more water to Morden to conserve Lake Minnewasta, and in the future have Morden supply PVWC customers.
    5. Investigate other ways to store water to keep PVWC plants running.
    6. Investigate other water sources within the province.
  3. Encourage alternate water sources by using gravel pits, creeks & ponds and rain barrels.
  4. Continue discussions with the Province to look for solutions.

Key Message

This is a serious situation. Although we would like a month-long rain to make it go away, we need community, agricultural and business support to reduce usage and are proactively planning for a potential long-term drought and its impact on our region.

About Pembina Valley Water Cooperative Inc 

In the early 90’s, a number of municipalities in south central Manitoba joined to form the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative Inc. (PVWC). The purpose was to develop a regional approach to supplying potable water in an area which lacked wide distribution of good, plentiful water resources, but which also exhibited the highest rate of economic growth of any region in Manitoba.

The PVWC, a privately held not for profit cooperative owned by fourteen member municipalities, offers a regional approach to producing and distributing high quality, potable water. The PVWC pipeline distribution system covers a service area of 9,000 square kilometers and serves a population base of approximately 50,000 people.  The head office is located in Altona, Manitoba with water treatment plants located in Letellier, Morris and Stephenfield.  Situated in the midst of the province’s richest agricultural and economically thriving area, PVWC provides potable water to this vibrant and diverse region.  PVWC has succeeded through vision and forward planning to achieve consistent growth.

Municipalities that are members of the cooperative include:

Town of Altona             City of Winkler

R.M. of Dufferin            Town of Carman

R.M. of Grey                   Municipality of Emerson – Franklin

R.M. of Montcalm         R.M. of Morris

Town of Morris             Municipality  of Rhineland

R.M. of Roland              City of Morden

R.M. of Stanley             R.M. of Thompson

The mandate of the PVWC is to provide treated/potable water that meets all of the Canadian drinking water standards to its municipal members. It is governed by a board of 14 members, one representative from each municipal member.

Pembina Valley Water Coop

429 Industrial Drive

Altona, MB  R0G 0B0