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Water Projects & Licensing
The Pembina Valley Water Cooperative (PVWC) filed a proposal in December 2005 for a project to divert at least 50 L/s of water from the Sandilands area on the east side of the Red River to Morris and eventually into the PVWC water distribution network on the west side of the Red River.
Pembina Valley Water Pipeline
The proponent PVWC indicates the project is required in order to "alleviate water shortages during periods of drought or contamination due to accidental spills". The Sandilands region, where it is proposed the groundwater be pumped from, is the source of ground water for five major watersheds in the province (Brokenhead River, Whitemouth River, Rat River, Seine River, Cooks Creek).
The proposal was subject to a public comment period that closed February 6, 2006. It was subsequently made available on-line on the Department of Environmental Assessment of Licencing Branch's website; paper copies can be accessed through the Public Registry (PR File #5156.00).
View the Environmental Assessment of Licencing Branch's webpage on PVWC's proposed Supplemental Groundwater Supply System
View Public Registry locations
Manitoba groups, communities and individuals made submissions as part of the public comment period. Comments included the noticeable lack of detailed technical information in the materials filed for public review, and inadequacies in the public notice and public involvement process. In some comments, groups raised serious concerns that the proposed PVWC project would constitute a sub-basin transfer of water, which is prohibited under Manitoba water legislation.
The proponents indicate this proposal is an initial step with expansion of the water transfer, industrial developments and new infrastructure planned for the future. This is another objectionable aspect of the PVWC proposal. Staged licensing is contrary to Manitoba public policy.
View Manitoba Wildlands' February 6, 2006 comments on the PVWC (PDF)
Visit Manitoba Eco-Network Public Registry for the PVWC proposal (PR File #5156.00)
View the February 6, 2006 Winnipeg Free Press article (DOC)
View Hugh Arklie's January 26, 2006 comments on the PVWC (DOC)
View the January 26, 2006 Buffalo Point First Nation letter on the PVWC (DOC)
View the January 25, 2006 Save Our Seine letter on the PVWC (DOC)
View the January 24, 2006 Glen Koroluk review comments for Friends of the Pocock Lake Ecological Reserve (DOC)
Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced June 2, 2006 that a Clean Environment Commission (CEC) hearing would be held on the proposed groundwater supply system by Pembina Valley Cooperative.
"Because of the number and variety of comments received by the public regarding this proposal, we want to provide a thorough environmental review process," said Struthers.
The CEC is an arm's-length provincial agency that facilitates public involvement in environmental matters and offers advice and recommendations to the minister of conservation with respect to environmental issues, project approvals and environmental licenses. The entire proposal can be found on the Manitoba Conservation website and in various public registries.
Download the mandate and Terms of Reference for the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative Supplemental Groundwater Supply System project CEC hearings (PDF)
The Panel appointed by the Clean Environment Commission to conduct a hearing regarding the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative (PVWC) Groundwater Supply System Project met June 28, 2006 to review four documents submitted by the Proponent, the public comments received by Manitoba Conservation, and background information gathered by the CEC office.
Insufficient Information - Pembina Valley Water Co-op
[The Panel] determined that the material provided by the proponent was insufficient to proceed with a hearing, or base any recommendations to the Minister. The Panel therefore requested that the Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch of Manitoba Conservation facilitate collection of additional required information from the Proponent before the hearing process progresses any further.
The CEC's decision echoes comments by the public (including Manitoba Wildlands) filed during the public comment period that closed February 6, 2006 (see above).
View PVWC September 2006 filing of additional information
View the Clean Environment Commission news item on the decision to delay the PVWC hearings
On November 7th and 9th, 2006, the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) held a public hearing on the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative's (PVWC) proposal to supplement municipal water supplies to PVWC members with groundwater from the Sandilands Aquifer.
View the CEC's webpage for PVWC hearing
View transcripts of November 2006 CEC Hearing
Download list of exhibits filed as part of the PVWC hearing (PDF)
View all exhibits filed during the PVWC hearing
The hearing included presentations by the proponent, the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus, Manitoba municipalities, cities, towns and conservation districts, First Nations and the Manitoba Public Utilities Board.
Download the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus written submissions:
Analysis of Manitoba Policy and Legal Instruments (PDF)
Appendix 1: Spreadsheet of Public Comments (PDF)
Analysis of Financial Costs, Water Use and Conservation Potential (PDF)
Download the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus presentation slides - Manitoba Policy and Legal Instruments (PDF)
Download Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus Response to Cross-Examination Questions (PDF)
Download Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus Closing Remarks (DOC)
Manitoba Wildlands made a written submission to the CEC regarding PVWC hearings that is also in support of the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus presentation. This submission also includes the PVWC map gallery below.
Download Manitoba Wildlands' submission to the PVWC hearing (PDF)
Manitoba Wildlands PVWC Map Gallery:
Aquifer & Water Basins
|Aquifer, RMs, Protected Areas, ASIs & Mining Rank Ones
Aquifer & Natural Regions
Red River Basin & RMs
Red River Basin & Watersheds
|Red River Basin Watersheds & RM Boundaries (Lablels)
|Red River Basin Watersheds & RM Boundaries
Proposed Well Site
The Clean Environment Commission will file its report on the PVWC public hearing within 90 days of the close of the hearing - by February 7, 2007.
Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced February 14, 2007 the province will follow Clean Environment Commission (CEC) report recommendations on the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative's (PVWC) proposal for a supplemental groundwater supply system. The report recommends against licensing the proposed project until further work has been carried out. Public hearings were held in November 2007.
"[A]ny plan must maintain public confidence and long-term sustainability, and the Clean Environment Commission has offered recommendations for the region. We will follow the recommendations of the CEC." said Struthers.
View the February 14, 2007 Government of Manitoba press release
The CEC issued eight recommendations with respect to the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative's proposal (see page 50), and concluded that "before individual groundwater projects are authorized, the larger planning initiatives envisioned by the government in recent legislation and policy, [must] be completed."
With respect to the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative proposal for a Supplemental Groundwater Supply System, the CEC's recommends that:
- In the absence of an integrated watershed and aquifer plan for the Manitoba portion of Red River basin, an Environment Act license not be issued for the Project.
- Integrated watershed and aquifer plans include aquifer water budgets and sustainable yield estimates.
- The Manitoba government make development of an integrated watershed plan for Manitoba portion of the Red River basin and associated aquifers a priority.
- The governments of Manitoba and Canada work with jurisdictions in the United States to develop a fully integrated watershed management plan for Red River Basin.
- Both federal and provincial governments enhance efforts to ensure negotiation of a guaranteed flow agreement for the Red River.
- The Manitoba government further review its policies and regulations regarding water extraction and allocation in respect of watershed management and planning.
- The Manitoba government enhance efforts to implement its existing policies and regulations in relation to water management.
- The Manitoba government establish and require higher standards of performance in environmental assessment. The government should provide comprehensive and clear guidance for proponents, consultants and practitioners by:
Download the CEC's Report on Public Hearing - Pembina Valley Water Cooperative Supplemental Groundwater Supply System (PDF)
- Issuing Guidelines for projects seeking a licence under The Environment Act that are more prescriptive as to what constitutes an acceptable environmental assessment; and
- Establishing protocols for best professional practice.