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Swan River continues to conserve water

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The Town of Swan River remains in the local state of emergency that was declared over the weekend when it was discovered on Saturday evening (Jan. 27) that water was not flowing from the nearby wells into the reservoir at the water treatment plant.
But, as of the update on Monday morning, there is, for the first time, a timeline in which the issue may be resolved.
“We did identify the problem, actually, problems,” said Deputy Mayor Lance Jacobson. “There are issues with the mechanics in multiple wells that feed the treatment plant.
“Many people were thinking there was a water line break but this is not true. There are no issues with our distribution system.”
Working around the issues, Town crews were able to get water flowing into the treatment facility but at a much slower rate than normal
“We have been producing potable, safe water since 3 a.m. which is being used to build up the water levels in our reservoir,” Jacobson said. “I can’t stress enough that the water that is coming through the system right now is safe. We are not under a boil advisory.
“This doesn’t mean that we have excess water and usage levels should not yet return to normal. We need to remain on conservation, as we were yesterday, until Thursday by the way that it is looking right now.
“If you have to use the water in the capacity that you need to use it then be smart about it but please take advantage of the water being provided at the distribution facility as much as possible,” he continued.
“The wells cannot be repaired until the reservoir has been filled and the less water that is used by town residents, the faster this will happen. We have contractors and materials on their way to repair our wells. We expect the reservoir to fill by Wednesday afternoon so they can begin work.”
Jacobson commended everyone in the Town for doing their part yesterday to reduce usage, extending the water reserves past the midnight deadline where shutoff was expected and allowing water to continue flowing.
“Because of the conservation efforts the reservoir never dipped to a dangerous level,” he said.
“Everyone has been doing an outstanding job and it has been a great community effort under the stress that we are dealing with. There’s no way I can name all the groups and volunteers who have come out to help. We had people unloading and handing out water, going door to door to notify people of what was happening and delivering water to seniors, just to name a few tasks.”
In addition, Jacobson said that the Town’s staff need to be commended for their work and dedication to finding the problem.
“Our employees worked in -25C to -30C temperatures for hours on end,” he added. “They are outstanding people and we have made sure they were doing shifts and getting the breaks they needed.
“We’ve also pulled some of our workers away from other services because getting our water systems back up fully is priority.”
Despite claims to the opposite, the Town reassures residents that there currently is, and always has been, measures in place in the event that fire suppression was needed and that maintaining safety of every single resident is their top priority.
The water station at the SVRSS trades building will remain open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Wednesday and even, possibly, Thursday with the Town expecting two more shipments of bottled water to restock depleting supplies.
Portable public toilets will also remain open at the Swan Valley Consumer’s Co-op car wash those same dates and times.
In addition, to help with water conservation, the Swan Valley Credit Union Aquatic Centre and the Swan River Centennial Arena will remain closed until Friday.
If you would like to volunteer your service you can contact the Town of Swan River office at 204·734·4586 and register.

Prairie Mountain Health
Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) has announced that they are continuing to assess and proactively plan for impacts to all of its health care services and programs within Swan River as a result of the community’s water supply issue.
“We are working closely with the Town of Swan River and appraising the province’s Office of Disaster Management regarding our latest status updates and community action plans,” said a spokesperson for the region.
“From a patient care perspective, the Swan Valley Health Centre remains functional although the region will review treatment options for some high-need patients, including those scheduled to receive hemodialysis in the next few days.”
Elective and other minor surgical procedures have also been canceled. The Primary Care Centre in Swan River remains open and the Advanced Care Clinic scheduled there for tonight will go ahead. Personal Care Homes are using bottled water where necessary and have advised residents and families of the water conservation efforts that are now underway.
“The Region is adhering to the Town’s message of continuing to limit and conserve water until further notice,” the spokesperson said. “Some laundry has been shifted to Dauphin Regional Health Centre, and other cleaning supplies and linens are being taken to Benito.
“Nutrition Services will be using bottled water and had altered menu planning to reduce the amount of water used as well as using disposable cookware/tableware as required. And, hand hygiene efforts have stepped up with hand rubs, lotions and soaps at all facilities as well as within the home care program.”
PMH remains committed to ensuring patients, residents and clients receive the care they need.
School Division
After closing all Swan River schools Monday, the Swan Valley School Division is moving forward with closures being assessed on a day-to-day basis for all Town schools excluding the SVRSS.
“We are doing our part to help the Town conserve water and we felt that it was best to close Swan River Schools to do that,” said SVSD Superintendent Tim Mendel.
“The high school will be open for exams Tuesday (Jan. 30) with an adapted schedule, which is available on the Division website, and we will bring in bottled water and portable toilets for students to use. These students are asked to come only for exams and then return home.”
The decision on closures for the ESRSS, Heyes School and Taylor School for the remainder of the week will be made daily with the information posted to the Division website by noon the prior day,
“We understand that people need to make alternative arrangements for their children,” said Mendel. “If this were to persist longer we might need a plan B.”
Buses will run to all of the open schools during this time.
Updates can be found on the SVSD website at www.svsd.ca. The Star and Times will also continue to share these updates through our Facebook page.

NOTE: The Swan River Day Care Centre has confirmed they will remain closed until Friday.