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October 2020

NEW - AB: Modernized irrigation infrastructure creates opportunity for propane

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On October 9, the Alberta government announced an $815-million joint investment between the provincial and federal governments to increase the amount of irrigated land in southern Alberta by more than 200,000 acres, the single largest irrigation expansion in the province’s history.

The announcement represents a major renewal of Alberta’s irrigation infrastructure, such as converting open canals to underground pipelines. The initiative is anticipated to create approximately 1,300 construction jobs in the short-term and 6,800 permanent direct and indirect jobs going forward.

The funding, which in addition to being used to modernize irrigation infrastructure, will also be used to increase water storage capacity, allowing for more acres to be irrigated with the same amount of water. It will consist of a $245-million contribution from the Alberta government, as well as a $407-million loan financed by the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Eight irrigation districts — the Bow River Irrigation District, Eastern Irrigation District, Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District, Raymond Irrigation District, St. Mary River Irrigation District, Taber Irrigation District, United Irrigation District and Western Irrigation District — will kick in the remaining $163 million.

The announcement is the first project to be announced under the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s recently announced $10-billion Growth Plan, which invests in new major infrastructure initiatives to create jobs and economic growth. The funding for irrigation projects will contribute to the diversification of the Alberta economy and will also increase the value of Canadian exports, which is of national importance. As a result, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will be looking for additional opportunities in the area of irrigation, as well as other projects aimed at supporting the agriculture industry.

The CPA will continue to advocate on behalf of members with the provincial, federal and irrigation districts for the increased use of propane in the agricultural sector. The recent funding announcements provides the CPA with plenty of opportunity to illustrate the benefits of utilizing propane to fuel irrigation engines, grain dryers, heat water and buildings, as well as for flame weed control.

For more information on the irrigation expansion projects in Alberta, contact Government Relations Director, West, Tanis Fiss at tanisfiss@propane.ca.

 

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