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Souris River group looks to future

The City of Weyburn has taken a proactive step in joining the Upper Souris Watershed Association, as they look to the organization to help address some of the pollution problems of the river that forms the city's main source of water.To be sure, there is a cost to join such a group ($5,000), but these funds will help the association leverage other funds from the provincial and federal governments, as well as from such agencies as the Sask. Watershed Authority, who also provided core funding of $80,000 to the Upper Souris association.One of the problems the city has been battling with in recent years is a heavy level of silt in the water, partially caused by erosion of the riverbanks upstream from the city; this is very difficult for the city to deal with at Nickle Lake, which is the city's main reservoir for drinking water.The association has proposed one way to address the siltation problem, by putting in two structures at inlets along the Yellow Grass Ditch north of Weyburn. The structures are comprised of flax straw bales overlaid with rocks and page wire, with hooked rebar pounded in to help hold it all in place. The structures will cost the association about $27,000 per structure, and the structures are said to last about 30 years.There are other projects as well that will help with water quality, and help improve the quality of this invaluable resource for the city. With the amount of rain this area has received this year, it would be too easy to think there is no reason for any concern, but as Coun. Bill Rudachyk pointed out, "Not every year is going to be like the current year."The wisdom of such an association is that it's forward-looking, and considers what future projects may be undertaken to improve the quality and quantity of the water in the Souris. All we need is to go through a couple drought years, and the importance of this singular water source will be quite apparent to all area residents.

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