The governments of Canada and Manitoba announced Wednesday that they are committing $55,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) to study the viability of providing an alternative non-potable water source for non-food processing purposes to industrial park tenants in the RM of Portage la Prairie.

Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson made the announcement Wednesday.

“Protecting Manitoba’s water resources while working with industry to grow the economy is a key priority of our government, which is laid out in our water management strategy,” says Johnson. “This wastewater study supports the strategy in the key focus areas of making every drop of water count, and addressing water infrastructure challenges and opportunities. By working together with governments, communities and industries, our government is committed to ensuring healthy and sustainable water management that supports resilient, thriving ecosystems, communities and economies for generations of Manitobans.”

Interlake MLA Derek Johnson at the government's Throne SpeechInterlake MLA Derek Johnson at the government's Throne Speech

The Poplar Bluff Industrial Park is located west of the City of Portage la Prairie and includes Simplot Canada Ltd., Roquette Canada Ltd., Enns Brothers, Overton Environmental and K&G Mushrooms. Water for the businesses is provided from Portage la Prairie’s city water treatment plant, while the fire protection water supply is provided through the RM of Portage la Prairie’s non-potable distribution system.

The industrial park’s tenants have expressed interest in using alternate non-potable water sources for non-food industrial purposes and reusing water where possible, with the goal of conserving potable water to support future food processing opportunities.

“Roquette is committed to improving sustainability at all of its facilities, including the Portage pea protein plant,” says Dominique Baumann, global head of plant protein operations and managing director, Roquette Canada Ltd.

“Emerging research and technology are revealing creative ways to conserve and recycle water. This study will provide valuable direction for local industrial users as we work together toward a more sustainable approach for water usage. I would like to thank the governments of Canada and Manitoba for their support of this important initiative.”

The report is expected in Spring 2023 and will provide options and high-level cost estimates on the infrastructure needed to use this non-potable water source.

Once completed, the Manitoba government and RM of Portage will go over the report and consider the next steps in conjunction with the industrial park businesses.

Read the full release from the government here.