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When Will the Water Turn on for Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project Phase 1?

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) wants to hear about any advancement in the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project.

Announced in 2020, the project, once completed, will provide water to over 500,000 acres of agricultural land.

SARM President Ray Orb said many RMs will benefit from the project. These RMs have suffered from drought over the last few years and are optimistic it could begin to assist the viability of their farmland. The economic importance of this project is significant for rural residents.

“This project has been a long time in the making and will positively impact rural municipalities into the future. It will increase crop diversity and farm profitability through irrigation. We need to see Project 1 launch soon,” Orb said.

SARM is calling for an update on Phase 1, in Division 5, which was deemed one of the most shovel-ready projects in the province. Ninety per cent of the current canal was already in place in 2023.

It is anticipated that there will be an economic boost for several smaller communities, and nine RMs when Phase 2 begins with the buildout of Project 2 Westside. This adds 260,000 acres of irrigated land.

In 2023, many Saskatchewan rural municipalities declared agriculture disaster areas due to drought. Producers in the area immediately surrounding the project are optimistic that this project could begin to support the sustainability of their agricultural land. When producers struggle, the effects ripple into communities.

Orb said the progress and opening of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project is a viable solution to bring thousands of acres of land into the provincial irrigation system.

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