Water treatment program
Winnipeg's drinking water
From Shoal Lake to your tap
Winnipeg's drinking water:
- comes from Shoal Lake,
- flows through the aqueduct,
- is stored at Deacon Reservoir,
- goes through our water treatment process,
- has fluoride and orthophosphate added to it and then,
- is delivered to your tap.
Drinking water quality
Our water is of a higher quality than set out by the Canadian drinking water quality guidelines.
Getting the water to the water treatment plant from Shoal Lake
Shoal Lake is a large isolated lake in the southeast corner of Manitoba, at the Manitoba-Ontario border. It is 137 kilometres (86 miles) from Winnipeg and about 92 metres (300 feet) higher.
Since Shoal Lake is higher than Winnipeg, water flows downhill through the aqueduct. The aqueduct is a large concrete pipe that was built to carry the water. Construction started in 1915 and was completed in 1919. It cost 17 million dollars at the time and can carry 386 million litres, or 85 million gallons, of water per day.
Before it is treated, water from Shoal Lake is stored in Deacon Reservoir. The reservoir is on the east side of the Winnipeg floodway, a few kilometres south of highway 15. The reservoir was named after Thomas R. Deacon, the mayor of Winnipeg in 1913 who promoted the Shoal Lake project.
Water is stored at Deacon Reservoir to handle peak summer demands for water and to allow brief shutdowns of the aqueduct for maintenance. The four large outdoor reservoirs hold up to 8.8 billion litres (1.9 billion gallons) of water – enough to supply Winnipeg for about 30 days. Powerful pumps move the water from the reservoirs into the plant for treatment.
Water treatment process
The new water treatment plant is at the Deacon Reservoir and is about the size of the MTS Centre. The plant is a state-of-the-art, modern facility designed for performance, safety, and environmental sustainability. As water passes through, it goes through several treatment processes, including dissolved air flotation, ozonation, filtration and ultraviolet light disinfection.
Water treatment protects public health by:
- virtually eliminating the risk of waterborne disease
- reducing levels of disinfection by-products
- allowing us to meet increasingly strict Canadian drinking water quality guidelines
It also improves the taste and odour of the drinking water.
The water flows through two large pipes where:
- fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay, and
- orthophosphate is added to prevent lead leeching into the water from old pipes.
To your tap
- The water then flows from the water treatment plant to the three regional reservoirs and pumping stations.
- Chlorine is added again before the water flows through the distribution system of feeder mains and a network of water mains and plumbing pipes that connect to your tap.
Last updated: February 24, 2014