This funding will help ensure there is water for irrigation and agricultural operations, municipal use, recreation, wildlife and habitat enhancements.

IRP funds are often used to replace open channel irrigation canals with buried underground pipelines that reduce water loss through seepage and evaporation. Water that would otherwise be lost is then available for irrigation and other uses.

“All of the province’s irrigation districts work hard to ensure that water is there when we need it. Investing in infrastructure will ensure water is well-managed and that producers can irrigate more land with the same amount of water. Irrigation provides a huge economic potential and every dollar that’s invested in irrigation results in economic returns.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Over the last few weeks, Minister Dreeshen visited many of the irrigation districts in southern Alberta to announce the funding and learn more about how irrigation projects benefit producers and communities.

Pipelines are a reliable water delivery method and increase water management efficiency. IRP grants support better water security and availability. Producers in irrigation districts also invest in district-owned and on-farm infrastructure improvements. Effective infrastructure ensures they are getting good value for their money and that water is available for irrigation, value-added processing and other uses.

Food companies around the world invest in areas with reliable irrigated farmland. These investments help to create good jobs, increase agricultural trade and grow our economy.

Started in 1969, the IRP provides cost-shared funds to irrigation districts to rehabilitate irrigation infrastructure. Alberta’s government contributes 75 per cent of the cost and the district contributes 25 per cent.

Irrigation districts receiving funding

  • Aetna Irrigation District (Cardston area): $35,163
  • Bow River Irrigation District (Vauxhall area): $1,585,642
  • Eastern Irrigation District (Brooks area): $2,418,872
  • Leavitt Irrigation District (Cardston area): $40,112
  • Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District: $1,098,698
  • Magrath Irrigation District: $116,413
  • Mountain View Irrigation District $37,391
  • Raymond Irrigation District: $271,432
  • St. Mary River Irrigation District: $2,651,848
  • Taber Irrigation District: $547,532
  • United Irrigation District (Cardston area): $262,043
  • Western Irrigation District (Strathmore area): $934,854

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s irrigation industry supports about 56,000 full-time jobs and contributes about $2.4 billion in labour income annually.
    • The irrigation sector also adds $3.6 billion in annual GDP to Alberta’s economy every year.
  • Alberta’s irrigated land makes up almost 70 per cent of all irrigated acres in Canada.
  • Within the province’s irrigation districts, there are more than 42 reservoirs and about 7,600 kilometres of conveyance works, including canals and pipelines, which carry almost two billion cubic metres of water per year.
  • As part of Budget 2020-21, Alberta’s government is granting a total of $10 million to the province’s irrigation districts through the cost-shared Irrigation Rehabilitation Program.

Alberta's Recovery Plan