Within the context of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and the Ministry of Agriculture's Strategic Plan, the Irrigation Strategy focuses on specific and measurable actions to ensure the sustainable and profitable development of irrigation in the province. The Irrigation Strategy contributes to the Ministry of Agriculture's suite of strategies, including the Crop, Livestock, and Value-added strategies. In addition, the Irrigation Strategy is an Action Item under the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency's 25 Year Saskatchewan Water Security Plan.
Irrigation is key to global food security. World-wide, irrigation produces 40% of global food supplies from 17% of its cultivated land while consuming 70% of the fresh water used. Saskatchewan is well positioned to build upon its existing irrigation infrastructure and to support the further development of its irrigated land base thanks to a number of contributing factors, such as: large quantities of good quality water (Lake Diefenbaker); relatively low-cost irrigable lands; an agro-climate suitable for high value crops ; and a friendly business climate.
Saskatchewan's Irrigation Strategy focuses actions on four objectives:
- Enhanced Returns from Existing Irrigation
- Applied research, demonstration, and extension
- Irrigation Expansion
- Support irrigation district infill and non-district development
- Infrastructure Sustainability
- Implement a provincial irrigation asset management system
- Provide program support for the repair and replacement of irrigation bridges and culverts
- Transfer operation and maintenance activities and assets to irrigation districts
- Long-term Growth
- Investigate the potential for irrigation development adjacent to the Qu'Appelle River.
- Develop a plan for the future development of the Westside Project.
By 2020, Saskatchewan's Irrigation Strategy will:
- Attract investment and immigration from areas with higher land and water costs.
- Develop 23,000 acres of Irrigation District infill capacity with an additional 10,000 irrigated acres on-farm.
- Develop 10,000 acres of sustainable, licensed, non-district irrigation development throughout the province.
- Provide innovation, competitiveness, improved productivity and water use efficiency through leading edge irrigation applied research and demonstration in partnership with industry (Irrigation Crop Diversification Corporation) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Canada Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre in Outlook.
- Increase annual net production over rain fed lands; increase yields ; and increase agriculture related employment.