The Penner Water Retention Project is an 800-metre-long dyke, located south of Steinbach, Manitoba in the Manning Canal sub-watershed district. It was completed in November 2018 in partnership with Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) and local cattle producer, Marvin Penner. The project was designed to manage surface water runoff, as well as to mitigate downstream flooding of rural homes and agricultural land in the area.

Aerial photo of the Penner water retention project

The dyke was constructed to make use of a low-lying area of wet cattle pasture land. It has a water storage capacity of 17 acre feet with a four to seven day drawdown period. Sub-soil fill material for the dyke was taken on site. The material was excavated to form a ditch alongside the dyke. The 15-metre-wide spillway functions to handle excess surface water flows. It is reinforced with a deep cellular confinement grid and synthetic geotextile matting. The reinforced materials were then anchored securely to the soil below. SRRCD staff assisted with the installation of the cell grid and matting on the spillway. Two (2) 300 mm drawdown culverts were also installed next to the spillway to allow water to be slowly released throughout the drawdown period. Surface soil from the excavation process was placed on the top and sides of the dyke before it was leveled. Mr. Penner plans to seed and install a gated fence on top of the dyke next spring.

SRRCD staff assisting contractors with installation of cell grid and geotextile matting

The SRRCD used LiDAR data to identify potential water retention project sites in the Manning Canal sub-watershed district. Mr. Penner expressed interested in getting involved with the district for the sustainability of his livestock operation. He also completed an Environmental Farm Plan as part of the project agreement. The projects at SRRCD are custom designed in-house by the SRRCD to benefit the unique needs of local producers, communities, and the health of our watershed.

Penner water retention spillway construction