The current premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe, announced a $4-billion irrigation project that will irrigate 500,000 acres of land from Lake Diefenbaker and double the irrigable land in the province.
The project is beginning with an immediate $22.5 million investment in preliminary engineering and initial construction. Project construction is expected to occur approximately over the next 10 years in three main phases 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.
Expanding irrigation in the province could allow more high-value crops, like vegetables, to be grown. Vegetables could range from potatoes, corn, carrots, beets, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, among others.
For example, in 2019 according to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan seeded 6,300 acres of potatoes. Alberta, where irrigated potato fields are common in the southern part of the province, seeded 61,235 acres of potatoes in 2019—almost 10 times the amount of acres seeded in Saskatchewan. Water is critical to potato production, and expanding irrigation capacity in Saskatchewan will broaden the crop options for producers.