Irrigation in Alberta - A Statistical Overview - 2017

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 This brochure highlights some of the major irrigation statistics for Alberta in 2017.

Irrigation in Alberta started in the late 1890s, before Alberta became a province. Through innovation and leadership, irrigation steadily expanded to over 700,000 hectares today. Water is supplied for irrigation by 13 irrigation districts, which represent 82% of the irrigated land, and through individual (private) licences. The majority (97%) of irrigation occurs within the Bow River, Oldman River, South Saskatchewan River Sub-Basins and Milk River Basin.

Irrigation is essential to the agricultural diversity and economic prosperity of southern Alberta. A network of over 7,500 km of irrigation district conveyance works delivers water for value added crop productivity and livestock watering, and also supports other water uses including wildlife habitat enhancement, hydropower generation, recreational activities, and municipal needs such as domestic and commercial uses.

The irrigation sector, as the largest consumer of water in Alberta, recognizes the importance of improving conservation, efficiency and productivity. With cooperative efforts from districts, producers, and government, the irrigation industry has been able to continue expanding within its water allocation as a result of water savings from continuous progress towards more efficient on-farm irrigation technology and rehabilitation of the conveyance infrastructure reducing runoff, seepage, evaporation and end of infrastructure spills.

For more detailed information about irrigation in the province, please refer to the 2017 Alberta Irrigation Information Booklet.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Jennifer Nitschelm.
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This information published to the web on July 21, 2010.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 16, 2018.