Water in - Water out
When smaller communities like Morden start exhibiting growth rates of 15%, with that being far beyond the growth rates of bigger cities like Winnipeg, the traditional way of capacity planning, which used to only focus around bigger cities, becomes dated and dangerous. In other words, plans for a larger wastewater management system for Morden, Winkler and Stanley has been in discussion for over a decade, but it's still not being built! Meanwhile Winkler and Morden are expanding fast, exaggerating the problem, and recent price hikes have catapulted our building costs far above anything a rural community could afford without going into debt for decades.
Our federal and provincial governments need to support us now and adjust their contribution to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICP) accordingly.
Water has been on our minds, front and center. With a high precipitation winter and spring this year, we are lucky on one hand - the drought is over and our water supply problems are gone. But mother nature's fury brings another unlucky streak - high waters and flooding wreaks havoc on our antiquated wastewater capacities, overflowing raw sewage from the lagoons into the ground.
I am excited to join the new city council in securing a permanent solution to increase our wastewater treatment capacity. This is the backbone of our development and must be designed to accommodate the wastewater needs of our fast growing city for many decades to come. There are generally two ways of going forth with this important investment in order to remediate our infrastructure:
1) We currently are waiting for the approval of a bio-kidney system by the province of Manitoba. This system basically works like a massive septic field and septic tank, where solids are separated from liquids and then dried and incinerated at high temperatures. The liquids are sent through multiple layers of filtering soils and then released safely into the environment.
2) We build a chemical water treatment plant, state of the art, less smell. The disadvantages are massive initial building costs and higher annual maintenance costs due to the chemicals required. They are also environmentally more taxing.
Additionally, we need to look at decreasing water usage (altering building codes to grey-water recycling systems, etc.) and securing water supplies for the future in a sensible and sustainable way: There is potential to increasing our lake's holding capacity by building a second dam to the West, and the current city council is working diligently in finding long term solutions to our water supplies, for example tapping into the Pembina River out west. This needs to be planned now in order to prevent desperation next time a drought comes along. With current national and international climate forecasts our prairies will experience more heat, more extreme weather and therefore more drought.