As part of a commitment to sustainability and environmental action, the Canada and Manitoba governments are committing $55,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) to study the viability of providing an alternative non-potable water source for non-food processing purposes to industrial park tenants in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced.

The Poplar Bluff Industrial Park is located west of the City of Portage la Prairie and includes Simplot Canada Ltd., Roquette Canada Ltd., Enns Brothers, Overton Environmental and K&G Mushrooms. Water for the businesses is provided from Portage la Prairie’s city water treatment plant, while the fire protection water supply is provided through the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie’s non-potable distribution system.

The industrial park’s tenants have expressed interest in using alternate non-potable water sources for non-food industrial purposes and reusing water where possible, with the goal of conserving potable water to support future food processing opportunities.

The study also supports Project ASPIRE, the action plan that positions Manitoba as the preferred supplier of sustainable plant and animal protein by stretching water supplies needed for protein industry expansion, the ministers noted.

The report is expected in early 2023 and will provide options and high-level cost estimates on infrastructure needed to use this non-potable water source. Once the report has been completed, the province and the rural municipality will review and consider next steps, in conjunction with the industrial park businesses.

“With increasing signs of climate change, every action the agriculture industry can take to use scarce inputs wisely matters. Projects like this show great initiative on the part of Manitoba’s processing sector – improving sustainability through one small action can lead to further wins and opportunities down the road.” – The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

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