Leveraging a loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the province of Alberta and eight southern irrigation districts will pony up over $400 million for new irrigation projects.
A 50 per cent commitment from the federally-backed bank will cover off the remaining $407 million, for a total funding of $815 million for new reservoirs, enhancements to existing irrigation infrastructure and more, says Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry for Alberta.
Whether it’s in the existing crop rotation with better yields, or the addition of higher-value specialty crops, such as sugar beets or potatoes, Dreeshen says the value for farmers is clear. The benefits then begin to multiply for the sector, as we start to see the value-added companies being willing to invest and moving in or expanding to make French fries or process sugar, he adds.
The funding will add about 200,000 new irrigation acres in the province. It’s the first major expansion in irrigation infrastructure in over 50 years, Dreeshen says.
Alberta’s government has committed $244 million, with the southern irrigation districts committing $163 million of the total $815 million.
All projects will be locating within the existing irrigation regions and work will begin almost immediately, Dreeshen says.
Hear more from Minister Dreeshen on the projects, funding, citing, and environmental impacts of the infrastructure improvements, here: