If two recent public open house events are any indication, there is a lot of interest and support for the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects (LDIP) and specifically the Westside Irrigation Projects.
The public open houses, held in July in Delisle and Outlook, provided an opportunity for the project representatives to share information with the public, while at the same time collect feedback on this infrastructure initiative. Attendance at each event was more than 160 people with participants including representatives from rural municipalities, elected officials, contractors and members of the general public.
The intent of the public open houses was to inform, educate and work collaboratively with local communities on the project to address local priorities. Those in attendance were engaged in the event and organizers were pleased with the local knowledge that was shared by the participants which resulted in lively and engaging discussions.
These events are important in keeping the public aware of the most current project information available. The project has been separated into three distinct parts: Westside Rehabilitation; Westside Expansion; and Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project. Currently, the government is focused on the Westside Rehabilitation and Expansion projects with the plan to develop the Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project in the future.
Field testing is currently underway and will help determine potential routes for the water distribution system. When the testing is complete and information processed, potential canal and pipeline routes will be presented to the public at future open houses.
For those who were unable to attend the recent open houses, a virtual presentation is available to organizations and groups. Additional public open houses will be scheduled in the future for further project details to be shared.
As a $4-billion water management infrastructure initiative, the LDIP will provide irrigation to approximately 500,000 acres of agricultural land in southern and central Saskatchewan. Increased irrigation will support the growth of diverse, high-value crops, which in turn will increase on-farm profitability, value-added processing opportunities, business attraction and employment.
The project will have many benefits and positive impacts on the provincial economy through job creation and revenue generation. It’s estimated the project with create 2,500 construction jobs every year during the build phase. It’s estimated that the gross domestic product (GDP) for Saskatchewan will grow by up to $80 million over the next 50 years when fully operational.