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Blumenheim residents to tap into Intervalley water pipeline

Intervalley Water Incorporated, a subscriber-owned and operated water utility, has announced it will extend its line to Blumenheim, northeast of Osler.

It’s been a long time coming, but residents of the hamlet of Blumenheim, northeast of Osler, could be receiving potable water by way of a rural water utility pipeline by this fall.
Intervalley Water Incorporated (IWI) has 11 subscribers in the Blumenheim area, enough to justify extending the subscriber-owned and operated utility into the community, according to IWI Vice-Chair Glenn Beatty.
“Over the last couple of years, there has been a fair amount of discussion around the board table, and tonight we’re announcing that we are expanding the IWI lines into Blumenheim,” said Beatty.
Speaking at the IWI’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, March 22 at the Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Corman Park, Beatty said construction of the line fulfills a promise made to Blumenheim subscribers back when the utility was first organized several years ago.
“IWI made some promises, but circumstances were such that we just couldn’t deliver to Blumenheim originally,” said Beatty. “Now we’re pleased to be in a position where we are able to bring water to those customers.”
Beatty said IWI has a contractor lined up for the pipeline expansion, and the board expects water to be flowing to curbstops in the community before freeze-up.
“As soon as the weather warms up and the frost comes out of the ground, we’ll get that work started,” said Beatty. He said he is hopeful that once the work begins, more residents of the area will become subscribers to the line.
COULD RELOCATE LINE
Beatty said IWI is putting forward a proposal to relocate a portion of its waterline that would be impacted by the new Highway 11 overpass slated to be built near Warman.
He noted the engineering firm in charge of the overpass project has been receptive to the water utility’s concerns, and he’s hopeful the proposal will be accepted.
“We don’t want to have any interruptions to the flow of water if we can possibly avoid it,” said Beatty. “We want to move our lines outside the construction zone. In the long run its to everyone’s benefit.”
IWI Board Chair Anthony Nienhuis said in addition to relocating the line, the utility is making other investments in its infrastructure to ensure protection for existing customers and to prepare for future growth.
Nienhuis noted that IWI is in excellent financial shape, and said this is a good time to make the necessary investments.
Nienhuis said the utility is looking for ways to increase its water allocation from SaskWater so it can meet future demand.
WATER RATE HIKES
IWI Treasurer Geoff Booth said SaskWater is hiking rates by 9.5 per cent this year and a further 9.25 per cent next year to its customers.
However, the IWI board has chosen to soften that rate hike this year for its approximately 355 subscribers.
“We are holding the line this year at 5 per cent,” said Booth. “The IWI will eat that other 4.5 per cent increase this year. We feel we can do that because we have enough of a margin built in and the utility can absorb that.”
He said the utility’s board will make a decision on next year’s increase later this year.
IWI ELECTION
James Johnston and Norm Greer were elected by acclamation to the IWI board at the utility’s general meeting. Nienhuis, Beatty, and Booth along with Jason Kornlius, Murray Grismer, Nora Bueckert and Terry Sorowski are also on the board.
Dave Goss and Chris Kehrig completed their terms on the IWI board and opted not to seek re-election.