Rural residents interested in creating a waterline west of Prince Albert

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The PARWU and RM of Buckland office on River Street in Prince Albert.

A group of residents who live in Holbein, Crutwell, the RM of Shellbrook, and the RM of Buckland areas have expressed interest in the possibility of a Rural Water Line running west of Prince Albert working with the Prince Albert Rural Water Utility (PARWU).

This new Rural Water Committee is not related to a previous committee led by the Town of Shellbrook, which began looking at a waterline proposal in 2021.

Rural Water chair Dave Whalley said group interest in the waterline project has waned in Shellbrook and a group of residents has convened two meetings to determine interest in working with the Prince Albert Rural Water Utility for a waterline.

“It’s obvious to us that Shellbrook is not going to do that, so we began discussions with PA Water (PARWU),” Whalley said.

“It becomes obvious to us that if we can get about 50 people to sign up, we can get a water line. because from PA to here, there are many people that have no water or very little water.”

The proposed rural waterline would run along Highway 3 west of Prince Albert through the RM of Buckland, including Shell River Heights, Greig Road, Hamlet of Crutwell to Holbein and District.

Whalley said that his house is one of the areas with water issues.

“Right now in our household here in Holbein, my wife can have a shower one day and I can have a shower the next, and then if we want to wash clothes, well, we have to save water to do that too,” he explained.

“Then we got neighbours and friends that are already hauling water and they’re looking for a solution.”

PARWU purchases water from the City of Prince Albert and serves a network of customers in the RM of Buckland, the RM of Prince Albert, the Muskoday First Nation and the RM of Duck Lake. The PARWU board also now has representatives from the RM of Shellbrook and the Town of Shellbrook for regional collaboration to enlarge the PARWU’s ability to service more municipalities with fresh, good drinking water.

Also, water Crane sites are located in the White Star area and South of The City, where thousands of gallons are purchased by local rural residents yearly.

Water Utility customers have expressed confidence that the water they receive is a safe and reliable source that they can depend on, without the worry of wells going dry or producing poor quality water that is not potable or useable.

The first meeting to gain an expression of interest was in Nov. 2023. It drew enough interest that a second meeting was scheduled for January to pursue an approximate cost per residence to obtain potable water.

At the second meeting on Jan. 25 at the Crutwell Community Hall, roughly 16 area residents attended.

“There was enough interest to pursue it,” Whalley explained.

Two representatives from PAWU, board chair Sid Kernohan and Manager Ken Danger, Manager, attended to provide details of the service and the cost to install a potable water line.

According to PARWU, the cost is approximately $1 million for the installation of two 4” lines extending from a connection north of Prince Albert and west, along Highway 3 to Crutwell and Holbein to serve residents along the way.

It was reported at the meeting, that if 50 property owners committed to obtain the water service the PARWU Board would seriously consider installing the waterline, possibly commencing in the summer of 2024.

“So it looks like if we can get 50 people that are willing to hook up to it, we can get a pipeline,” Whalley said.

At that time, several property owners in attendance expressed interest in pursuing the proposal, and the committee was struck at the start of the meeting.

Whalley also attended as a delegation to an RM of Shellbrook council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

“I’m meeting with them just to bring the Shellbrook RM up to date on what we are trying to do,” Whalley said.

Because the project is in the early days, Whalley said it was also to ask for moral support on the concept.

The committee is also trying to get the attention of residents in the RM of Buckland living west of Prince Albert.

Whalley explained that over the next few weeks, the proposal will be summarized and clarified, and an information sheet and ‘Expression of Interest” form will be distributed to area residents to determine how many properties are prepared to subscribe to the service.

The information sheet will outline the average cost per month for a family of four for Potable water and the cost to subscribe to the service, which is estimated at $25,000 to $28,000 per connection. Possible financing options and related information will also be included.

The Rural Water Interest Committee members are Whalley, Evan Kernohan, Lloyd Thomas, Phil While, Dave Rondeau, Steve Olford and Cliff Skauge.

Despite the membership of RM of Shellbrook Division 3 councillor Skauge and that the RM of Shellbrook contributed to the study for the Shellbrook Water Line Feasibility Study, the above Rural Water Line ‘Interest’ is not an RM of Shellbrook initiative.

The initiative is a grassroots community initiative working towards a successful community effort to obtain good reliable Potable Water for the community that will add value to properties.