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Improving irrigation in southern Alberta

Posted on August 12, 2020 by 40 Mile Commentator


An Aug. 4 funding announcement included money being poured  into Alberta’s irrigation district to continue to improve water infrastructure.
The water infrastructure provides water to irrigation and agriculture operations, municipal use, recreation, wildlife and habitat enhancement.
The grant is a part of Alberta’s $10 million Irrigation Rehabilitation Program.
“Crumbling infrastructure on the St. Mary River network highlights the importance of on-going maintenance and rehabilitation. Alberta’s government will continue to invest in irrigation to attract value-added food processors that will create full-time jobs and expand our economy,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
The Irrigation Rehabilitation Program is a long-standing grant program that provides cost-shared funds to irrigation districts to rehabilitate irrigation infrastructure.
Unlined canals, converting canals to pipelines are supported under the rehabilitation projects. These projects allow for the increase in water conveyance network’s efficiency, which allows for more acres to be irrigated with an existing water allocation.
St. Mary River Irrigation District is receiving $2,651,848 from the program.
“Irrigation is essential to the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Albertans and the Alberta government is committed to support this important industry. This grant to St. Mary River Irrigation District will help ensure southern Albertans continue to have reliable domestic water, aquatic habitats and recreational areas,” said Grant Hunter, associate minister of red tape reduction.
The support is appreciated by SMRID.
“We appreciate the funding we’re receiving through the Irrigation Rehabilitation Program. St. Mary River Irrigation District supports a rich and varied abundance of crops, providing southern Alberta with a steady and vibrant economy even during these difficult times. This grant supports our ongoing work to deliver water more efficiently to our communities and proudly serve the farms, businesses and people in southern Alberta,” said George Lohues, board chair, SMRID.

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