A water treatment plant in Saskatchewan that provides more than 260,000 people with potable water is set to undergo rejuvenation.
Three levels of government announced Tuesday just over $222 million in funding for the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant rejuvenation project.
Dale Schoffer said the plant is nearing the end of its lifecycle since it was last upgraded more than 30 years ago.
“We have received good value over the last 30 years, but it is now time to renew the facility,” said Schoffer, chair of the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corp.
“Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant is reaching the end of its ability to continue to provide the high-quality water we expect in the quantities we require.”
Officials said rejuvenating the plant will allow it to meet the demands of the region’s forecasted potable water demands in the coming decades.
Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corp. president and CEO Ryan Johnson said that includes upgrading the main treatment plant, pump stations and reservoirs.
“There’ll be a lot of renovation where we’ll be gutting existing areas of the plant and processing equipment and replacing with newer technology,” said Johnson.
“We’ll be touching almost all areas of the facility and at the end of the day, it will be able to get us through the next 25, 30 years.”
The plant, first commissioned in 1955, serves the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, as well as a number of other communities.
The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corp., which is owned by the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, is contributing more than $59 million to the project and is responsible for any additional costs.
“With these upgrades and our city’s installation of the new transmission line to our high service reservoir, Moose Javians and surrounding communities can be assured that we will have efficient and effective delivery of safe drinking water,” said Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie.
“The announcement today is a cornerstone in our water security in this region and is a critical and key component of the integrated network of infrastructure we are investing in.
“I cannot stress this enough. Water security is critical to the survival of any community wanting to grow and thrive.”
In February, Regina city council unanimously approved its portion of funding for the project.
“The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant renewal project invests in the long-term viability of the facility and ensures a safe and reliable source of drinking water for all Regina residents,” said Regina Mayor Sandra Masters.
She said the investment will not only help propel both population and economic growth, but help the environment.
“This renewal project will enhance the facility’s environmental sustainability and implement the use of renewable energy,” Masters said.
“That’s a strategic priority for the city of Regina as we work toward becoming 100 per cent renewable by 2050.”
The federal government said it is providing just over $89.1 million toward the project, with funding contingent on Indigenous consultation requirements being met.
“Today’s investment, strengthened by more than $89.1 million in federal funding, ensures the citizens of Regina, Moose Jaw, and several other communities will have access to reliable, potable water services for years to come,” said Jim Carr, the federal government’s special representative for the Prairies.
“This is how we build greener, healthier, more resilient communities.”
The remainder of the funding — just over $74.2 million — is coming from the Saskatchewan government.
“Investing in this facility will not only create jobs and support the local economy, it will also ensure that Buffalo Pound continues to supply safe, clean drinking water to the hundreds of thousands of Saskatchewan residents and businesses in the Regina and Moose Jaw areas for decades to come,” said Government Relations Minister Don McMorris.
“Drinking water may not get the attention of a new stadium being built, but it’s every bit as important, if not more important. It’s something that we all use each and every day.”
Construction is expected to start in 2022, with completion in 2025.