The Province announced two key funding agreements for Saskatchewan's irrigation industry this week.

During the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities Convention Premier Scott Moe announced that the province is ready to begin work on the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project.

SARM has been calling on the province to move forward with the project which was originally announced back in 2020. 

Consultation with land users and design work on the Lake Diefenbaker expansion will begin with construction expected to start next year.

The first phase of development will cost about $1.15 billion and will focus on constructing the early works of the first 90,000 acres of the project. 

Moe says the government is happy to take the first major step in creating the most sustainable food and economic security project in Canada which will create major benefits for generations.

"Saskatchewan can be a leader across the country and move this project forward which will provide billions in economic benefits and thousands of jobs."

Irrigation Saskatchewan co-chair Aaron Gray says irrigation expansion across Saskatchewan will be essential to move our province forward.

"The future of our agriculture industry and producers is closely tied to water resource management, and infrastructure management is critical to our ongoing efforts to meet those long-term needs."

The province says engineering, design and engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous rights holders is expected to be done over the next 12 to 14 months, with major construction of the 90,000 acres being targeted for 2025.

Agriculture Minister David Marit is also the Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency.

He says since 2020, over 58,000 acres of irrigation have been developed, which is the largest growth since the early 1980s. 

"The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project will position Saskatchewan to meet the needs of a growing population across the globe. We continue to encourage the federal government to come to the table in a more meaningful way and be part of this important project as it moves forward."

Earlier, this week Marit also announced more than $19 million for irrigation districts.

"This announcement reaffirms the government's commitment to supporting irrigation within Saskatchewan. More than 55,000 acres of irrigation were developed between 2020 and 2023, and this investment will help keep this infrastructure working and help our producers for years to come. These funding agreements will also help us reach our Growth Plan target of 45 million metric tonnes of crop produced by 2030."

The funding will be split between six irrigation districts  - Luck Lake, South Saskatchewan, Riverhurst, Moon Lake, Grainland Lake and Miry Creek Irrigation District.

Luck Lake Irrigation District, to receive up to $3.8 million over five years.
South Saskatchewan Irrigation District, to receive up to $9.5 million over five years.
Riverhurst Irrigation District, to receive up to $3.8 million over five years.
Moon Lake Irrigation District, to receive up to $159,005 over five years.
Grainland Lake District, to receive up to $441,180 over five years.
Miry Creek Irrigation District, to receive up to $153,710 over five years.

Miry Creek will also receive a one-time payment of $1.3 million to repair the water intake portion of their pumping system as part of the asset transfer agreement.

For more information on the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project click here

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Minister Marit click on the link below.