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Even more important for a number of towns was the establishment of a credit union, which along with the grain elevator and a general store helped maintain the viability of a number of communities. Not only did the credit union provide a valuable service to area residents but it also encouraged participation in community decision making. After 1940 credit unions were established in Gretna, Plum Coulee, Horndean and Halbstadt, helping to reduce pressures of centralization already at work.
A limit to the growth of all towns in Rhineland throughout this period was the lack of an adequate water supply. It not only held back the development of new industries but limited recreation, firefighting and sewage disposal. After the cva plant was built in Altona in 1946, the water problem became crucial. The absence of reliable wells necessi tated hauling water by truck and soon became a major expense. By 1957, cva was spending $35,000 a year merely for hauling water, and one company spokesman commented that cva would never have located in Altona if they had known the problems the water shortage would later create." Any hopes for a creamery, a sugar beet refinery, or any other industry for that matter required some solution to the water supply problem. It took until 1950 before the area became politically astute and vocal enough that the politicians started listening and even then the problem was a decade away from being resolved. 56
A number of proposals to supply water for the area called for dams on Buffalo Creek and the Pembina River, while others advocated a pipeline from the Red River or Winnipeg. Feasibility studies produced negative decisions and the other alternatives also proved unsatisfactory. In 1957, however, a breakthrough occurred when the town of Neche, North Dakota, offered to supply Gretna and Altona with water from their new filtration plant at forty cents per 1,000 gallons on the condition that a pipeline be built to the plant. In 1958 a three man Water District Board was set up to carry out these plans with financial assistance from the Provincial and Federal Governments." A pact was finally signed by the Water Supply Board of Manitoba and approved by Gretna and Altona residents in January of 1960. It would remain to be seen what effect a stable water supply would have on new industry.
Agriculture in the 1950's
The most notable agricultural trends during the 1950's were the decline of sunflower acreage, the increase in flax and sugar beet acreage and the expansion of poultry farming.
From 1945 to 1949 sunflower acreage in southern Manitoba had