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New facility may be key to boosting Saskatoon's water treatment capacity

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Saskatoon's environment committee is set to consider how to increase the city's water treatment capacity — which may include a new facility.

"As the City of Saskatoon and surrounding region continue to grow, a strategy is required to increase the water treatment capacity to 450 million litres per day, which will provide safe and reliable drinking water for approximately 500,000 people," an administration report says.

The current plant has a treatment capacity of about 250 million litres per day.

The administration says the highest-ranking strategy would focus on improving reliability at the existing plant and the staged development of a second one.

If approved, the administration would, over the next two years, explore funding opportunities with federal and provincial programs; work with the Water Security Agency on construction permitting and operational requirements; evaluate distribution and reservoir storage requirements; and plan a contracting strategy.

The report says per capita water consumption has dropped over the past 10 years due in part to an inclining-block rate structure for residential properties, but that's being offset by growing commercial water demand, including food industries.

“Despite many successful water conservation efforts, as well as maintenance and upgrades over the years, it is unrealistic to depend on our 116-year-old Water Treatment Plant to keep up with future demand,” Pamela Hamoline, interim director of Saskatoon Water, said in a news release.

The committee is scheduled to meet Monday.

Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly referenced the city's wastewater treatment plant, rather than the water treatment plant.

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