Alberta’s government and its partners are investing in an irrigation expansion project for east central Alberta to lead economic growth.
Irrigation infrastructure plays a transformative role in Alberta’s rural economy, creating new opportunities for producers by providing increased water storage, stability through periods of drought and long-term economic growth.
Alberta’s government, the Municipal District of Acadia, the Special Areas Board and the Canada Infrastructure Bank are investing about $7 million to continue the planning of a large-scale irrigation project to be located in east central Alberta.
“Historically, irrigation has been a game-changer when it comes to increasing sustainable primary crop production,” said Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation in a press release.
“The east central project has the potential to help grow the agri-food sector and support a diversified value-added processing industry.”
Partnerships in the project are Canada Infrastructure Bank, the MD of Acadia and the Special Areas Board, in taking another step closer to modernizing and expanding Alberta’s irrigation infrastructure.
Planning for the irrigation project will include preliminary engineering design, environmental and regulatory considerations and potential financing options.
It is expected to take up to 24 months to complete and will inform the next steps in the irrigation project.
• Over the past two years, the Alberta government has partnered with the Canada Infrastructure Bank and nine irrigation districts to invest almost $933 million in irrigation expansion and modernization – the largest investment of its kind in Alberta’s history.
• Alberta has more than 1.8 million irrigated acres and the east-central project has the potential to create up to 108,000 more.
• A 2021 economic study found that Alberta’s irrigation districts create about 46,000 jobs and contribute about $5.4 billion in total gross domestic product (GDP).
• An important part of Alberta’s economy, the agri-food sector contributes more than $8 billion in GDP and employs nearly 60,000 Albertans.