The province is hoping to make the sprinklers in neighbourhoods that are under water and are still receiving a supply of rain, water and snow more resilient to flooding, with the goal of providing water for those who have been cut off from it.
It’s a major challenge for the province and for municipalities that are still reeling from the drought, and is a step in the right direction for cities that are trying to regain control of the water supply.
The new water treatment plant on the outskirts of Winnipeg is one of several in the province that is being retrofitted to make water more resilient, and there is also a water treatment facility in Regina.
But the province says the new sprinkler equipment will be ready to provide water to people with sprinklers who need it, and will also help cities repair their water system when they are out of it.
The province will spend $15 million on retrofitting sprinkler plants in the Winnipeg area, and $100 million for the next two years, and it has also earmarked $300 million for water infrastructure repairs in the next five years.
The federal government also announced it is helping with infrastructure repairs.
In addition to the $15-million to retrofit sprinklers, the province will be investing $10 million to retrofitting all municipal water treatment plants across Manitoba, including those in St. Boniface, Winnipeg and Moose Jaw.
“We’re trying to make sure that our infrastructure is ready for the kind of events that are going to occur in Manitoba over the next couple of years,” said Rob Nichols, the minister of natural resources.
“When you have an event like this, and the rainfall is not sufficient, when the water level is not being met, you’re really not getting the best bang for your buck.”
Nichols said the government will spend another $15 to retrofitted all municipal treatment plants and $500 million for a water network upgrade.
He said the project is expected to be completed in 2021.
Nichols also said the province expects to receive $400 million in funding to repair infrastructure, which is expected in the coming months.
“I can assure you that this funding will go to water systems,” he said.
“It will go for a new water plant, new water lines, new equipment.”
He said Winnipeg’s water infrastructure is among the worst in the country, and he said the funding is a way for the provincial government to help fix it.
“That means they’re investing in infrastructure and making sure it’s reliable and watertight, and they’re making sure that the infrastructure is being maintained,” Nichols said.
The money will also go toward the repair of a water distribution network that is among Manitoba’s worst.
The network is not expected to get repaired until 2021, but Nichols said he hopes to have it repaired by the end of 2019.
The Winnipeg mayor said he thinks the province’s money will be well spent, especially considering the city’s situation.
“In this province, you can’t get rain, and you can get snow.
It doesn’t get better than this,” said Mayor Sam Katz.
“You can’t have water and you don’t have electricity.
You’re stuck with the water, so you need to have the water.”
Katz is also working with his city council and the province on a new plan to make it easier for people who need water to get it, especially if they live in the Lower Mainland or south of the city.
In 2017, Katz said there were about 1,500 people in Winnipeg without running water, which was down from about 1.5 million at the same time last year.
The city has had its water supply cut off since January 2017, when a severe drought hit Manitoba.
The latest drought was the worst since the 1970s, when it was caused by a severe winter that left nearly 60 per cent of the province without potable water.
That winter also cut off all drinking water in the region.
Katz said Winnipeg will soon be able to get some water from the city of Winnipeg’s new water distribution system.
It will be available in three areas of Winnipeg, including the Lower Sackville, South Sackville and South Sackdale areas, as well as in the South Sackvale, North Sackville areas and South Winnipeg.
Katz hopes that Winnipeg will be able get water in time to have a celebration at the parade on Thursday night, when Mayor Sam Kaspar is expected on the stage.
“The timing for this is right now, it’s a very important time for us,” he told reporters.
“This is going to be a celebration for our community, and we’re going to have to be prepared.”
The mayor also said he is hopeful that the provincial funding will be enough to repair some of the infrastructure in Winnipeg, like a drainage system that runs from the riverbank down to the main road in South Winnipeg, where the city gets water from its own water supply and the city pumps it through a sewer system.
“Hopefully, the provincial money will get us back on track,” he added