By Cole Parkinson
There is plenty to look forward to in the Alberta irrigation world in the coming years. Richard Phillips, chairman of Irrigating Alberta Inc. and Bow River Irrigation District general manager, was on hand on March 17 in a live streamed event with Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, and he explained what was happening in regard to the Alberta Irrigation Modernization Program.
“Alberta has 13 irrigation districts in total, ranging from very large to very small. Collectively, we irrigate about 1.5 million acres — three districts get their water from the Bow River, one is from the main stem of the Oldman (River), eight from St. Mary, Waterton, and Belly Rivers, which are Oldman tributaries, and one from Ross Creek in the Cypress Hills. There’s also about 260,000 acres of non-district irrigation occurring in the south Saskatchewan River Basin and much smaller amounts in other river basins,” stated Phillips.
With Canada being one of the few countries that still has the ability to increase food production, Phillips explained irrigation is crucial to that facet. It was also explained to everyone in attendance the districts in Alberta generated $5.4 billion to the provincial GDP with only 20 per cent accruing to producers and eight per cent to the region and province.
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