Officials with the Pembina Valley Water Co-op (PVWC) are cautiously optimistic this winter's snowfall will replenish the region's water supply after the summer drought. Persistently dry and hot conditions this past summer led the PVWC and its 14 member municipalities to declare a State of Drought Emergency due to low water levels on the Red River.. The state of emergency was in effect from July 28th until the end of October.

o by about 7 per cent."

This, according to Archibald, has officials wondering if they should be planning for a potential flood come April.

"The U.S. Weather Service looks at a bunch of things between a flood and drought," he explained. "Did you get fall rains? Check mark - we did. Did you get a good frost depth? Yes, we've got it. Do we have good base stream flow? Yes, we've got it. And more recently, do we have a good snow pack, and certainly we have that now."

Archibald noted, the scenario that ultimately plays out will all depend on temperatures heading into spring, the rate of snow melt and spring rains.

"A lot of people think if it melts quick then we'll have more run-off so, obviously we'll have more water. If it melts during the day significantly but it's cool at night, then it may just evaporate and we don't have as much run-off. But as we look at it right now, the snow is a real good thing and we're just very optimistic that may be our drought is gone and we may need to react to a flood instead."

Meantime, Archibald says the treatment plants at Morris and Letellier appear to be making it through the winter just fine. There were concerns in the fall that the low water levels would cause the river to freeze to the bottom, cutting off the co-op's ability to draw water.

"Flow rates are as good as can be expected," he said. "The other thing is, water usage is always down in the winter time so we've had no problem supplying customers and municipalities the water they require."

Meantime, a temporary pumping system installed this summer at the Morris plant was removed in December, and the temporary pumping system for the Letellier treatment plant was taken out in January.

Although there appears to be good news for most of the PVWC's municipalities, Archibald noted that Morden remains in a 'very severe situation' with Lake Minnewasta's levels still 13 feet below the intake.