Several pieces of key infrastructure the Water Security Agency owns in southwestern Sask. will be flooded with upgrades this year.

The two biggest projects, locally, will be on Lake Diefenbaker's east side pumpstation and the Gardiner Dam's public safety and operator safety. 

The east side pumpstation, located southeast of Cutbanks, Sask., has four pumps that are used to move water from Lake Diefenbaker northward to the central part of the province.

"It's what helps get the water up into the M1 Canal," said Sean Osmar, is a spokesperson for the WSA. "Then there is a whole chain of reservoirs that stretch up north and east from there."

The improvements at the pumpstation will allow the WSA to use all four pumps at once. Supply chain issues on electrical components needs to complete the work are hampering the expected completion timeline for this summer.

"We're continuing the work now," he said. "I believe we have some temporary pumpstation upgrades currently in place as we get ready for the new equipment to arrive... Our supply chain is subject to what it is."

Public safety and operator safety are two projects that will be carried out at one of Canada's largest embankments dams: the Gardiner Dam. Fences, signage, barriers, and a channel boom are some of the public safety items being added or upgraded. The projects will cost a combined $5 million.

"There's some safety upgrades for our staff and the operators on-site there," he said. "Making sure they can do their job as safe as possible."

Smaller projects across the region include $1.2 million in work on the Val Marie Dam, $300,000 on a weir diversion at Battle Creek, Lafleche Dam spillway repairs for $280,000, and the West Val Marie Dam will also receive spillway upgrades for about $100,000. 

"Some of these structures, it's a weir, it's a hand operated structure that's 10 feet wide depending on where you are," he said. "When we have 72 (dams) we have to make sure they're all functional and operational. They don't all require a $5 million retrofit or anything like that."

val marie_dam_wsaVal Marie Dam (Photo courtesy of WSA)
west val marie_dam_wsaWest Val Marie Dam (Photo courtesy of WSA)