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Dredging project aims to secure city's water supply

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Dredging operations have taken place at the Vermillion Reservoir in an effort to improve the City of Dauphin’s access to its main drinking water supply.
Director of  Public Works and Operations, Bill Brenner, said dredging of a trench at the intakes near the pumphouse at the northwest corner of the reservoir took place over three days last week.
“It will just be better for water to get to the intakes,” Brenner said, adding last spring the city was unable to draw water from the reservoir as the intakes were completely buried in silt and debris.
“We are cleaning them out so that we can get as much water as possible to the intakes for as long as possible.”
Brenner stressed the dredging is not the final solution to the problems the city has had with accessing water in the reservoir.
“We are hoping that reservoir can be deepened by the province and we are waiting to hear back from them on that, whether they can actually make that reservoir hold more water, because there is significant siltation throughout the whole reservoir.”
The main plan is to see if height can be added to the dam. Correspondence between the province and the city dating to the time of the reservoir’s construction indicates that might be possible.
“The other plan would be to move our intakes to a deeper part of the reservoir,” Brenner said.
“But this is an interim fix.”
It is important the city maximizes the supply at the reservoir, as the secondary source at Edwards Lake is low, Brenner said.
“And we still don’t have an agreement with Parks Canada for maintaining and managing that lake right now.” he said.
“So we are working with them on that right now, but there is not a ton of water up there either.
“And they have concerns about us draining that lake so that will be, as always, our secondary option for water. Vermillion is always our primary source.”
Brenner said the city has been drawing its water from Vermillion Reservoir since spring runoff, however, issues with the dam have lessened the water supply more quickly than anticipated.
“There was some leakage so the water level dropped quite quickly in the reservoir,” he said.
“So we are hoping for a lot of rain here at some point to fill both Edwards and Vermillion.”
Brenner is not worried about running low on water for the city’s use.
“We are not worried yet, but we will see how it goes this fall.”