Information Shared at Open Houses for First Nations and Métis Locals

Information Shared at Open Houses for First Nations and Métis Locals

On July 27, 2021, the Water Security Agency (WSA) along with Clifton, Stantec and Associated Engineering (Prime Consultant) hosted an open house at the Dakota Dunes Resort in the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. The event provided an opportunity to share information with First Nations and Métis leadership on the preliminary studies being completed on the Westside Irrigation Project, as part of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects.

A total of 31 participants, representing five First Nations and six Métis Locals or organizations, attended the open house. In addition to watching drone footage of the existing Westside Irrigation Project Main Canal, participants were also able to connect and interact with representatives from the WSA, government ministries and the Prime Consultant Team while reviewing project information displays. The displays are available HERE.

The main discussions centered around the economic impact of the project, employment opportunities, environmental issues, and potential effects on the long-term water supply. The information provided focused on the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure and the expansion of the existing Westside Irrigation Project, built in the 1970s.

The Westside Rehabilitation Project is a great opportunity to upgrade the existing infrastructure with the potential to expand irrigation within the province. The rehabilitation work will increase the amount of irrigable land by 80,000 acres in the project area. The Westside Expansion Project will also add 260,000 acres irrigable land.  

The feedback and discussion items from the open house will be considered when developing the proposed design options for both the Westside Rehabilitation, and Westside Expansion Projects.

The WSA and the Prime Consultant Team will continue to build meaningful relationships and explore potential opportunities with First Nations and Métis Locals and organizations in Saskatchewan.

 

 

Public Open Houses a Major Success

Public Open Houses a Major Success

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.

 

Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects Public Open Houses

Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects Public Open Houses

The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects are one of Canada’s most unique development opportunities and are the largest infrastructure project in the province’s history. This made-in-Saskatchewan project is expected to be a 10-year water management infrastructure initiative that will eventually double the amount of irrigable land in the province.

The project has been separated into three parts: Westside Expansion, Westside Rehabilitation and Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project.

At this time, the government is focused on the Westside Rehabilitation and Expansion Projects with an eye on developing the Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project in the future.

When completed, this project will reinforce Saskatchewan’s position as a leader in global food security while building on the original vision of expanded irrigation for Lake Diefenbaker.

One of the keys to the overall success of the projects is ensuring open and timely two-way communication with all stakeholders.

Public open houses to discuss the West-side Irrigation portions of the project will be held in Delisle and Outlook on July 28 and 29. These initial face-to-face meetings will create foundational relationships by sharing project information and developing a better understanding of local priorities. The come-and-go public open house events are from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

The project leadership team is looking to inform, educate and work collaboratively with local communities on the project to address local priorities raised during the open house sessions.

The project will have many benefits and positive impacts on the provincial economy through job creation and services provided. The project will be looked at as a catalyst to help Saskatchewan workers and companies recover from the effects of the global pandemic.

The irrigation projects are also considered building blocks for regional economic development in the province.

At a time when there is great uncertainly across the globe, Saskatchewan is adding certainty to the Saskatchewan economy and food security by investing in expanded irrigation.

Increased irrigation will also support the growth of diverse, high-value crops, which increases on-farm profitability, value-added processing opportunities, business attraction and employment.

Not only are the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects the largest infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan’s history, they’re a vital step forward to realizing the irrigation potential of Lake Diefenbaker.

Public Open Houses

Wednesday July 28
Delisle Community Centre
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday July 29
Outlook Heritage Centre
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Additional Funding Supports Immediate Irrigation Expansion in Saskatchewan

Additional Funding Supports Immediate Irrigation Expansion in Saskatchewan

In June of 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a change to the Irrigation Development Program that will allow producers to access up to $500,000 per applicant to finance irrigation infrastructure. This program change was made possible by the additional $5 million investment in irrigation development that the government will make over the next two years.

“Increased irrigation supports the growth of diverse, high-value crops and will generate significant returns for our producers and our province,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “This funding will provide more support for producers to develop irrigation projects and bring the sector closer to achieving our Growth Plan goal of adding 85,000 new irrigated acres in Saskatchewan by 2030.”

This additional funding for the Irrigation Development Program will support projects that are ready for construction to be completed in the next two years. The program increases irrigation capacity by helping finance the infrastructure required to bring a secure water supply to the edge of irrigable cropland. This funding is in addition to the existing commitment under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) for this program. The maximum program payment per applicant was previously $300,000.

As of 2020, close to 10,000 acres were brought under irrigation as a result of the Irrigation Development Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

“Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) welcomes the additional funding announcement that will further enhance irrigation development in the province,” SARM President Ray Orb said. “SARM is pleased the province recognizes the need for more diversification and value-adding in the agriculture sector, in addition to the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project that was announced previously.”

“This funding will help Saskatchewan producers advance projects that will further diversify and strengthen the province’s agriculture sector,” Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association President Aaron Gray said. “We are excited about the opportunities for irrigation in Saskatchewan.”

Irrigation supports the growth of diverse, high-value crops, which increases on-farm profitability, value-added processing opportunities, business attraction and employment.

Clifton and Associates Selected as Prime Consultant for the Westside Irrigation Project

Clifton and Associates Selected as Prime Consultant for the Westside Irrigation Project

In February 2021, Regina-based Clifton Associates Ltd. (Clifton) was selected to begin engineering work for the Westside Irrigation Project. Clifton will also be partnering with Stantec and Associated Engineering to start the Westside Projects.

Clifton’s team will complete the overall engineering preliminary design for Westside Rehabilitation and Expansion, projects 1 and 2. Their work is expected to take 12 to 18 months, and will inform the next project of work, including:

  • Preliminary engineering design for project 1 and 2

  • Geotechnical, soil suitability and geographical mapping

  • Environmental consulting services

  • Playing a central role in the extensive consultations with First Nations and other stakeholders, which will also start in the near future.

Clifton has spent more than a decade intensively involved in a variety of irrigation studies within Saskatchewan. They are among the most experienced engineering firms across Western Canada and have delivered on other large-scale infrastructure projects in the past. Clifton provides a strong team to review the environmental scope of the work required to complete the initial stages of the necessary provincial and federal regulatory approvals and permits. There will be careful assessment of potential impacts to environmental protection, downstream users, and communities, including consultations with First Nations and other stakeholders as part of the process.

Saskatchewan Announces Irrigation Projects At Lake Diefenbaker

Saskatchewan Announces Irrigation Projects At Lake Diefenbaker

Premier Scott Moe announced the first steps of a generational initiative that will fulfill the vision of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to ensure the prosperity of Saskatchewan people and irrigate up to 500,000 acres of land from Lake Diefenbaker, more than doubling the irrigable land in Saskatchewan. Project construction is expected to occur approximately over the next 10 years in three projects at a cost estimated at $4 billion.

“The announcement of this generational project will see the vision of Lake Diefenbaker completed over the course of the next decade,” Moe said. “By doubling the amount of irrigable land in our province, this project will be a massive step in completing the goals our government has set out in our 2030 Growth Plan.”

The first project is estimated to cost $500 million and will include the rehabilitation of the existing Westside irrigation canal system. This work will increase the amount of irrigable land by 80,000 acres in the area. It is considered one of the most shovel ready irrigation projects in the province with 90 per cent of the current canal already in place.

Project 2 will see the further expansion and buildout of the Westside Irrigation Project, adding an additional 260,000 acres of irrigable land. Once fully built and developed, the project will eventually see land made available for irrigation near Macrorie, Milden, Zealandia, and as far north as Delisle and Asquith.

Project 3 will see the building of the Qu’Appelle South Conveyance Project, adding an estimated 120,000 acres of irrigable land. Starting at Lake Diefenbaker and going south, the project would run near the communities of Tugaske, Eyebrow, down to Marquis and into Buffalo Pound Lake. It would provide the Moose Jaw-Regina corridor and southern Saskatchewan with a secure source of water for the next century and act as a catalyst for significant industrial expansion in the years to come.