Alberta has announced an $815 million dollar project to modernize its irrigation infrastructure and increase water storage capacity.
Premier Jason Kenney says this historic investment in irrigation infrastructure will create thousands of jobs and support Alberta's economic recovery.
"Agriculture is the beating heart of Alberta’s economy and as global demand for agri-food products continues to grow, our producers and irrigation districts will be better positioned to meet that demand for generations to come."
The Government of Alberta will contribute $244.5 million and the province's eight irrigation districts will contribute $163 million.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed by all parties also involved a $407.5 million investment by the Canada Infrastructure Bank which will be re-paid by the irrigation districts.
The eight irrigation districts participating in the investment include 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.
Dan Shute, Chair of the Western Irrigation District says it's a historic day for the district and irrigated agriculture and will ensure the productivity and stability of Alberta farms long into the future.
"With this funding, we will expand irrigation, increase water efficiency and make the service we provide to our water users even more secure."
Alberta has more than 1.7 million irrigated acres.
Stats show that irrigation-related agricultural processing generates about $2 billion in total annual sales and accounts for about 18 per cent of total provincial food processing sales.
The irrigation industry generates about $2.4 billion in annual labour income and supports about 56,000 jobs.
The Province $815 million dollar irrigation project will create up to 6,800 direct and indirect permanent jobs and up to 1,280 construction jobs.