Irrigation expansion projects still possible
Hopes are still alive for major expansion of irrigation in the province. Outgoing chairman of the Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association, Joel VanderSchauf, told the annual conference he is hopeful after a meeting with federal Saskatchewan cabinet minister Ralph Goodale. Some of the stakeholders at the meeting wanted “piecemeal projects.” But he said SIPA convinced Goodale that major projects met all the criteria for growth, jobs, remediation and ecology.
Two significant irrigation projects have been on the drawing boards. They include the 250,000-acre Westside project that will require $1.8 billion and the 100,000-acre Tugaske to Marquis project costing $1.2 billion.
The Tugaske to Marquis project requires a separate water conveyance canal from the Qu’Appelle Dam to Buffalo Pound Lake.
The water conveyance canal would ensure adequate water to Southern Saskatchewan. Water shortages have been predicted by 2024.