Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown to shift pumping downstream to conserve river

'Anything that we can shift downstream will have a benefit upstream'

November 02, 2018

The Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association regularly monitors water levels and flow speed in the river. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The Charlottetown water and sewer utility is adjusting where it extracts water from the Winter River watershed to try to improve flow in the waterway.

Utility manager Richard MacEwen said the plan is to move pumping downstream.

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"Anything that we can shift downstream will have a benefit upstream," said MacEwen.

"If we can shift some of the groundwater extraction further down the Winter River you see less impact on the stream. So we're trying to change where we draw the water from within the Winter River watershed from our Brackley station down to our Suffolk station."

The change won't solve all the problems in the Winter River, says Richard MacEwen. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

He said provincial officials approached the utility with this possible solution a few years ago.

MacEwen said the amount of water being removed will not change, but where the water is extracted will. The plan is to pump an additional 1,800 litres a minute at the Suffolk station, a 50 per cent increase, while simultaneously reducing pumping at the Brackley station by 1,800 litres.

A tender is currently out for the work, which MacEwen said could start as early as this month depending on approval, or late spring next year.

The change won't keep the Winter River from going dry in dry summers, he said, but it should help the waterway overall.

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With files from Laura Chapin

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