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Water rates are rising in Winkler after an increase at the Pembina Valley Water Coop (PVWC).

The price is rising by $0.82 per 1000 gallons, to $8.98. The rate increase became effective January 1.

Because the City purchases 35 percent of its water requirements from PVWC council approved a "pass-through" rate hike to cover the increase.

While a significant increase would trigger a public utilities review, Mayor Martin Harder explains the water coop applied for regular increases at the utilities board. "And because they have approval they can just flow it to the municipalities... but only 35 percent of it gets passed on to our water bill."

The water coop aims to increase rates to $9.19 next year and again to $9.34 in 2021.

CEO Greg Archibald says the regional water utility has about $14 million worth of capital projects it wants to embark on over the next five years in an effort to maintain the service it provides to local municipalities, and to stay on top of the growing demand for water in this region.

Projects include building a pipeline from the Morris water treatment plant to St. Jean, construction of a new water reservoir at the Letellier water plant, and the installation of a second six-inch pipeline from Roland to Winkler to better service the expanding Winkler-Morden corridor.

The not-for-profit organization is owned by 14 member municipalities. The regional approach means PVWC pipelines can distribute water to 50,000 people in Southern Manitoba.

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