Following last fall’s $815-million investment in irrigation system upgrades, the Alberta government, Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and 10 irrigation distracts are investing another $117.7 million to modernize irrigation infrastructure and increase water storage in southern Alberta, a Nov. 12 news release says.
The irrigation modernization project is the largest of its kind in Alberta history and has the potential to create 7,300 permanent jobs and 1,400 construction jobs and contribute up to $477 million to the province’s GDP ever year.
“This is a momentous point in history for Alberta’s agriculture industry, with nearly a billion dollars invested in our farmers, processors and the communities they support. This investment will allow them to make even more high-quality, safe food to help feed the world,” Nate Horner, provincial minister of agriculture, forestry and rural economic development, says in the release.
The expanded investment of nearly a billion dollars has the potential to expand irrigation by up to 230,000 acres, almost 15 per cent more than the current 1.44 million irrigated acres in the affected irrigation districts, the release notes.
“We would like to thank the Government of Alberta and the CIB for the additional investment into the Irrigating Alberta infrastructure initiative. This is truly a transformational investment for the Alberta irrigation sector and agriculture industry,” David Westwood, manager of the St. Mary River Irrigation District, says in the release.