In light of the recent Husky oil spill that leaked into the North Saskatchewan River, Aquatera says it wants to increase its water storage capacity. CEO Bernd Manz stresses that if something happens where they can’t draw from the Wapiti River, there’s needs to be an alternative temporary source.
“At current demands and the amount of storage that we have, we’ve got probably two or three days of raw water storage. To be comfortable, we’d like a week to two weeks of that, and so that’s certainly a vulnerability currently if you look at what’s happened in Saskatchewan recently.”
Aquatera provides 20 to 25 million litres of water a day to the City and County of Grande Prairie, along with Sexsmith. Increasing its storage won’t be cheap, and the company plans to work with the communities to try and find funding.
Manz says cities being forced to shut down their water facilities serves as a reminder to look at Aquatera’s own emergency plans. Part of the problem is the region’s quickly expanding population.
“The amount of storage that we have is reduced as the region has grown over the years; those ponds were built in the early to mid-eighties and that’s getting to be a while ago now.”
Manz says they’re looking at one to two years to complete upgrades. They also include preventing erosion of the river bank at their facility and installing a new water intake.