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Municipal councils in the region are preparing to create their own drought plans now that directors for the Pembina Valley Water Co-op Board (PVWC) have approved the organization's strategy.

The PVWC plan will serve as a framework for member municipalities during this process. It is designed to be proactive to the possibility of a drought situation, and involves the key steps of monitoring, mitigation, response and recovery.

"It sets the stage for good and timely work being done," said Don Wiebe, Reeve for the Municipality of Rhineland.

He added it will be critical for PVWC members to understand the framework laid out before them.

"So if they (PVWC) reduce their water supply by ten per cent, in terms of allocation, how do we respond? We need to figure that out."

Wiebe explained the part of the PVWC plan that has his attention is the idea of staging reduced water allocations.

"You can start with small reductions and maybe the small reductions carry you through (a drought situation). If not, then you can move to further reductions. So you can stage this so it's no surprise to anyone."

All the while, he said municipalities would look for other interim water resources.

It is this part of the plan that Ralph Groening, Reeve for the R.M. of Morris, thinks will generate some good discussion among municipalities.

"Expanding the reservoirs that are available, working collaboratively with the aquifers that are there, recharge (or) building new storage lagoons/water storage sites. That also is very important," he said.

Groening added when he reviewed the PVWC drought plan, he was struck by the limited control in place regarding the flow of the Red River from the U.S. into Canada.

"There is no international agreement...regarding the flow of, and the ability to limit the flow up into Canada," he explained.

Overall, Groening calls the new drought plan "a progressive strategy to identify ways of managing a drought situation or other water supply restrictions.".

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