Assessment of Potential Regional Water Systems

SaskWater is a Provincial Crown Corporation in Saskatchewan dedicated to serving the water needs of all Saskatchewan residents. In order to expand its network of water treatment and distribution systems while utilizing existing assets, SaskWater is investigating the potential for developing new regional potable water systems.

By serving more users from each treatment system, these regional systems would provide the benefit of reducing capital costs. Additionally, they can reduce the operational and maintenance burden on municipalities by sharing the costs of operator training, maintenance, and overall systems management.

CIMA+ evaluated the feasibility of developing these regional systems in the southern half of Saskatchewan. This evaluation examined economic efficiency, promoting shared use of major infrastructure, and access to suitable water sources. The outcomes of this project will provide SaskWater with the basis of a long-range plan for the technical needs of the regional systems that are considered the most viable. The study will also provide SaskWater with tools to engage with current and potential future customers.

The project was delivered in two key phases. Phase 1 involved identifying the number and extent of potential systems and ranking them in order of overall feasibility. The CIMA+ Infrastructure Team compiled information from multiple sources into a GIS database to assist in identifying areas of the province in most need of new or renewed potable water infrastructure. Once the overall list of feasible regional systems was identified, stakeholders developed a ranking methodology to identify and prioritize the potential regional systems based on both affordability and customer need.

For the second phase, the highest-ranked systems were conceptually designed complete with hydraulic analysis, life cycle cost estimates, and cost-benefit analysis. Shape files were exported from the GIS database for each potential regional system and imported into WaterCAD for streamlined building of the WaterCAD models with linear pipeline routing and elevation data contained within. Once the conceptual design work for linear pipeline assets was complete in WaterCAD, it was combined with the conceptual design of water sourcing and water treatment options. The complete regional water system designs were then cost estimated with life cycle costs of the proposed regional options compared with the status quo of each community operating its own system.

This study concluded that, if the top ten prioritized regional systems are developed, up to 72 water treatment plants can be replaced by 7 to 10 regional treatment plants. By expanding its network of water treatment and distribution systems in a cost-effective manner, SaskWater can better serve the water needs of all Saskatchewan residents.

In November 2023, CIMA+ won the ACEC-SK — Brian Eckel Awards — Award of Distinction for this project.

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