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

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), with their member RMs, have been advocating for the launch of the water management infrastructure known as the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project which was announced by the Government of Saskatchewan in 2020. Both the federal and provincial governments have previously funded various phases of this project, and SARM would expect this to continue. The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project, once completed, will provide water to over 500,000 acres of agricultural land.

Many RMs will benefit from the project. These RMs have suffered with drought over the last few years and are optimistic that this project could begin to assist the viability of their farmland. The economic importance of this project is significant for rural residents.

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 percent of the current canal was already in place in 2023; when will RMs see water flow? 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 will not only add 260,000 acres of irrigated land, but also increase construction job opportunities, farm expansion, and traffic into these communities.

“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” says Ray Orb, President of SARM.

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. Launching this project will boost the economy for producers and rural residents alike.

Without access to moisture Saskatchewan producers, the country’s best stewards of the land, can’t find the solutions necessary to increase food production to assist in feeding both Canadian and global customers. The progress and opening of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project is a viable solution to bring thousands of acres of land into our provincial irrigation system.

SARM is asking the provincial government for a definite opening date on Phase 1 of this project. The government has shared that 90% of the current canal is already in place, it’s time for RMs to see water flow.

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For interview requests please contact:

Corette Mihalcea
Communications Specialist, SARM
communications@sarm.ca or 306.761.3931

Rustie Dean
Media Liaison, SARM

Background: SARM is the independent association representing rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, serving as the primary advocate for its members before senior governments. SARM invites provincial news agencies to join us at convention as representatives from rural Saskatchewan municipalities converge to discuss and debate timely topics, elect officials, and hear the critical issues of Saskatchewan’s rural members. For more information on the convention (including an agenda and registration link) SARM Annual Convention.