Irrigation has the potential to improve entire landscapes, communities and agricultural operations, bringing much-needed water to areas that need it. On top of providing crop, livestock and food processing operations with water, it also supplies municipalities, recreational areas, wetlands and wildlife habitats.
With that in mind, Agriculture and Forestry, through its Agri-Food Sector Investment and Growth Strategy, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), the Special Areas Board (SAB) and the MD of Acadia, have reached a memorandum of understanding to assess the technical and financial feasibility of developing irrigation in east-central Alberta.
For the MD of Acadia and the SAB, this feasibility study is the next step in work that has been underway since the ‘80s. Together, the Special Areas and the MD of Acadia cover over 5 million acres of land between Red Deer and the Saskatchewan border.
‘Alberta has a well-earned reputation for high-quality crops and livestock, much of which is grown in east-central Alberta. This feasibility study will help us determine if expanding irrigation is possible, which could lead to even more production in our province', says Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
‘The Council and staff of the MD of Acadia are excited to be partnering with the Special Areas, Alberta Agriculture, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank to investigate regional irrigation development opportunities. Irrigation would bring major economic benefits to our whole region, and to producers in it and would increase water security while enhancing recreational opportunities,’ says Peter Rafa, Reeve of the MD of Acadia.
‘Securing a reliable supply of water is critical to creating new opportunities in the Special Areas region, from increasing crop and cattle production to mitigating environmental challenges resulting from drought and climate change. This partnership will allow our region to look at how we can develop and expand irrigation in a financially feasible way,’ says Jordon Christianson, chair of the Special Areas Board.
The irrigation industry creates thousands of jobs and contributes billions every year to Alberta’s agri-food gross domestic product.
Last fall, the Alberta Government, together with the CIB and 8 irrigation districts, announced a historic $815-million investment in irrigation expansion and modernization.
For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line: