This release was issued under a previous government.

Irrigation grants to improve infrastructure in rural Alberta

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Verlyn Olson (second from left) with members of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association and Eastern Irrigation District in Brooks, AB today announcing $21 million in grants to improve irrigation infrastructure in the province

“Irrigation is an integral component of the economic, environmental and social fabric of southern Alberta. That’s why we need to build and maintain a stronger irrigation system to increase water efficiency and ensure our producers can continue to diversify their crops.”

Verlyn Olson, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Irrigation Districts in southern Alberta will receive $21 million in grants to maintain and improve irrigation systems that supply over one million acres of land with water. The irrigation systems support more than 55 different crops and supply water to 50 communities and municipalities in Alberta.

“This annual funding supports the continuous rehabilitation of the irrigation infrastructure to keep our system effective and efficient – helping us conserve water and expand productivity.”

Richard Phillips, Vice-Chair, Alberta Irrigation Project Association

Alberta is home to approximately 70 per cent of all the irrigated land in Canada. Irrigation farms account for about five per cent of the arable land in Alberta, producing nearly 20 per cent of Alberta’s total food production.

Directly and indirectly, irrigation adds an estimated 40,000 jobs and more than $1 billion a year to the provincial economy.

The $21 million in grants are part of a cost-sharing arrangement with the 13 Irrigation Districts. The funds will be used for updating and rehabilitating aging parts of the complex system that includes more than 8,000 kilometres of canals and pipelines. This irrigation system is valued at over $3.5 billion. 

Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.