CALGARY, ALTA. – Alberta is pouring $812 million into modernizing its irrigation infrastructure.
The province announced it will be working with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and eight irrigation districts on the infrastructure plans, which officials said would expand agriculture production and diversify value-added food processing.
The modernization upgrades will increase water storage capacity and could create roughly 1,280 construction jobs, officials said.
“This is a major development for Alberta farmers,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a statement.
“Through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and with our provincial counterparts, this investment will leverage private sector partners to significantly increase the acreage of irrigated land in southern Alberta. For farmers of grains, pulses and other crops, this will not only increase the yields of their crops, but also the long-term sustainability of their operations.”
Projects will target increasing water conveyance efficiency and allowing more acres to be irrigated with the same amount of water.
According to the province, upgrading irrigation infrastructure will: increase irrigated acreage and primary crop production; improve water use efficiency; increase water storage capacity; enhance water security; and provide flood protection to support long-term value-added processing activity.
The Government of Alberta is chipping in $244.5 million while the irrigation districts will pay $163 million towards the upgrades. The CIB will pay $407.5 million for the project, however, the irrigation districts have agreed to pay these funds back.