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Winnipeg Metro Region

Winnipeg Metro Region (WMR) has been working on Plan20-50, which is a long-term regional growth and servicing plan. This plan focuses on a 30-year window of collaboration toward a shared vision and long-term goal.

We’ve been working with WMR to establish a strong regional plan to protect water resources, while recognizing climate change patterns and their effects on resource assets. Plan20-50 works to facilitate economic competitiveness and growth while protecting land and water.

Winnipeg
Winnipeg Metro Region

Boyne Valley Water Initiative

We’re conducting a full re-analysis of the Treherne Dam project. This project represents a class of water-harvesting infrastructure that’s key to successful climate adaptation. This could also be a model for a larger green infrastructure investment program for the Prairies.

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Originally proposed in 1965, the Boyne Valley Water Initiative (BVWI) consists of a new dam to be constructed on the Boyne River, downstream of the town of Treherne in the Municipality of Norfolk Treherne. The dam would store 24,300 acre-feet = 29, 973 dam3 (1 dam = 1000 m3 ~= 1 acre-foot) of water to increase the supply available for municipal, irrigation and other uses in the region, particularly during periodic droughts or low summer flow periods. The dam could also assist in reducing flood flows in the reach between Treherne and Stephenfield Reservoir.

The new storage would provide greater flexibility in the management of the limited water resources in the watershed and surrounding region. Firm flows in the watershed are already fully allocated. Given the water shortages experienced in the past, this increased supply and management flexibility is required under existing hydrologic conditions, and becomes even more critical under any modified hydrologic conditions that may arise as a result of climate change.

The new reservoir would be filled using flow stored during the spring freshet of the Boyne River (once sufficient flows have been released to assist in filling up the Stephenfield Reservoir located downstream) as well as water diverted from the Assiniboine River. Diversions would occur only during periods when the Assiniboine water flows significantly exceed the current and future allocations downstream of the diversion intake either during spring freshet in April to May, when much of the Assiniboine flow in this reach is diverted to Lake Manitoba for flood protection, or during the late fall when the Shellmouth Reservoir is drawn down for winter.

This feasibility study will re-analyze the Treherne Dam proposal in light of water harvesting infrastructure within the context of climate change.

Southern Manitoba’s vulnerability to climate variability and change was highlighted by recent drought events in 2017. In early April, spring flooding along the Boyne River forced Carman’s water treatment plant to shut down due to high turbidity levels. The other situation occurred in early June as farmers were spraying their fields. The increased demand for water left the region struggling to supply local communities with their water requirements. Additionally, the Boyne River has reached its maximum license capacity for summer/firm flow conditions, which is of specific concern for the supply of potable water in the region. However, spring runoff flow retention could alleviate shortages but only if significant investments in water storage were made.

There is also the possibility that the frequency, intensity and duration of droughts may increase due to anthropogenic climate change, stressing the need for robust drought adaptation strategies.

The qualitative analysis (with the help of the Province of Manitoba records and the work being done by the Prairie Climate Centre) of past, present and future (potential) experiences of drought and other climatic extremes is helping to advance knowledge of how best to respond and adapt to such conditions, and how this might vary between different locations, sectors and communities. It has become increasingly clear that more effort is needed to address the changing environment and climate, by shifting from notions of ‘drought-as-crisis’ towards a more proactive approach that acknowledges the variable availability of water and that multi-year droughts should not be unexpected, and may even become more frequent.

Exacerbating the issues of climate impacts on water security and supply is the complexity of the agricultural industry, regional economics, and demographic changes (decreasing/growing populations) which are currently occurring across most rural communities. The social and economic issues facing rural communities are not just a product of drought or climate change – to understand them as such would underestimate the extent of the problems and inhibit the ability to coordinate the holistic, stakeholder-based approach needed for successful climate change adaptation in rural communities.

A full re-analysis of the Treherne Dam project in the current policy and environmental context is justified as it represents a class of water harvesting infrastructure key to successful climate adaptation, and it could also be a model for a larger green infrastructure investment program for the Prairies.

Virden Wallace-Woodworth Climate Adaptation Plan

This project develops the economic case for large scale investment in natural infrastructure on the agricultural landscape as a key adaptation to the elevated risk of both flood and drought, helping provincial and municipal governments attract multifunctional de-risking adaptation investments.
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The Town of Virden and the Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth propose a scoping analysis for distributed water retention system based on multi-functional storage (MFS) in the Virden and Wallace-Woodworth area. The purpose of the project is to develop the economic case for large scale investment in natural infrastructure on the agricultural landscape as a key adaptation to the elevated risk of both flood and drought, helping provincial and municipal governments attract multifunctional de-risking adaptation investments.

The study will identify the size, number and location of potential MFS sites in the Virden and Wallace-Woodworth areas and build the investment case based on implementation costs, and various project benefits including climate risk (flood/drought) reduction, irrigation potential, water quality and habitat benefits.

Future potential follow-up to this plan will be to develop a feasibility study for specific identified locations in the Virden and Wallace-Woodworth areas: Hydrodynamic and simulation modelling of the Scallion, Bosshill and Gopher watersheds (Virden) to develop a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis of retention storage with climate change sensitivity. This future Manitoba case study will apply the Prairie Climate Atlas data to demonstrate full climate risk analytics consistent with emerging best practices for climate resilient infrastructure investment planning. The case study analyses will be used to refine basin-scale investment case including the detailed benefit analysis from the Virden study.

This study will be a follow-up to the recommendations of the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan and the Roseau River Study by building the investment case for multi-functional storage (MFS) in the Assiniboine River Basin using leading-edge geospatial and hydrological analysis and best-in-class climate risk analytics for investment planning.

Seine Rat River Roseau Watershed District

The RM of Hanover, in partnership with the Seine Rat River Roseau Watershed District (SRRWD), proposes a flood and drought adaptation plan for sustainable water management covering the sub-watershed affecting the RM of Hanover, that will identify a distributed water retention system based on multi-functional storage (MFS).

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The purpose of the project is to develop the economic case for large scale investment in natural infrastructure on the agricultural landscape as a key adaptation to the elevated risk of both flood and drought, helping provincial and municipal governments prioritize and invest in green infrastructure that provides a beneficial cost-benefit ratio.

A new reference hydrology model will be developed to design new structures taking into account potential climate change extremes. Using this model, the plan will identify the size, number and location of potential MFS sites in the Seine Rat River Roseau Watershed area and build the investment case based on implementation costs, and various project benefits including climate risk (flood/drought) reduction, irrigation potential, water quality and habitat benefits.

A future potential follow-up to this plan will be to develop a feasibility study for specific locations within the watershed district, conduct a feasibility study for the development of naturalized wetland storm water retention facilities within the RM of Hanover, and invest in feasibility, planning and engineering studies for a natural sewage treatment system for the RM of Hanover. This report can also be used by SRRWD member municipalities to lobby the federal and provincial governments to develop a regional water strategy.

This future Manitoba case study will apply the Prairie Climate Atlas data to demonstrate full climate risk analytics consistent with emerging best practices for climate resilient infrastructure investment planning.

The proposed study also follows in the wake of the recommendations of the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan and the Roseau River Distributed Storage Study by building the investment case for multifunctional storage (MFS) in the Red River Basin using leading-edge geospatial and hydrological analysis and best-in-class climate risk analytics for investment planning.

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