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Small Dams

Pre-Approval

The Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) supports the development of secure and sustainable water sources for agriculture use. All applicants must demonstrate an agricultural use for the water.

For the purposes of FRWIP, small dams are earthen structures built in a water course to hold back and impound water. Small dams will be classified as having a height of embankment of 2.5 metres or less. The height of embankment is measured from the natural bed elevation of the stream or watercourse to the top of the embankment.

All individuals or entities participating in a small dam project must meet the applicant eligibility criteria.

Each applicant is encouraged to assess their project against the program criteria and review program eligibility.

Funding Details

  • Small dam projects are eligible for a rebate of 50 per cent of eligible costs up to a maximum of $75,000 per applicant, which includes any funding received from the FRWIP rebate stream for wells, dugouts or pipeline projects.
    • The maximum rebate funding for a small dam project associated with a multi-producer application is $75,000.
  • For multi-producer applications, each eligible applicant will only be able to access a combined maximum funding of $75,000 from all well, dugout and pipeline rebate projects and pre-approved dam projects. Any funding an individual receives from participating in a multi-producer dam project will be included in their $75,000 maximum funding.
  • The deadline for submitting applications for pre-approval is December 31, 2027, for projects to be completed by March 31, 2028.
  • Projects must be pre-approved and fully constructed and operational for agricultural use before funding will be issued. No interim payments will be made. Program payments are subject to a minimum rebate of $250. The minimum claim amount is $500.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Primary agricultural producers (individual, partnership, co-operative or corporation) who can demonstrate a minimum $50,000 of gross farm income in Saskatchewan in the year of application or the year prior to the application. Individual applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Multi-producer groups are defined as one or more eligible applicants who are not related and are legally, financially, and operationally independent of each other but wish to financially contribute to, and share infrastructure related to, a small dam project. Each applicant in a multi-producer group must independently meet program eligibility. Funding for approved multi-producer small dam projects will be allocated to each eligible applicant at percentages based on project contributions indicated at time of claim.
  • First Nation Bands in the Province of Saskatchewan.
  • Crown Land Pasture Grazing Associations in Saskatchewan.

Our rebate programs allow flexibility for new entrants to become eligible if they are confident they will be able to provide proof of meeting the gross farm income threshold within the five-year term of Sustainable CAP. Complete the below New Entrant Self-Assessment for details:

New Entrant Self-Assessment:

  1. Did you earn less than $50,000 in gross farm income in the year of or the year prior to the application?
  2. Have you recently (roughly within the last five years) made a significant purchase of land, livestock, or other investment for the purpose of farming, which will allow you to generate $50,000 in gross farm income by March of 2028?
  3. Have you operated a farm or ranch and earned farm income for five years or less, either as a sole operator or with other related entities who have operated a farm or ranch for five years or less?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, please contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 and ask to be connected with an agriculture programs specialist to discuss whether or not you are eligible as a new entrant.

First Nation producers may have distinct characteristics reflecting regulatory, operational, cultural and other factors. Our programs are designed to allow for flexibility to reduce barriers and ensure accessibility. If you are interested in applying for programs and have questions about the application process or eligibility criteria, please contact one of our Building and Strengthening Indigenous Supports (BASIS) specialists or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Center at 1-866-457-2377 and ask to be connected with one of our BASIS team members.

Eligibility Criteria/Other Parameters

  • Applicant must adequately demonstrate an agricultural use for the water source development. Agricultural use is defined as crop spraying, livestock watering (results in taxable income from livestock sales), intensive horticulture production (greenhouse, orchard or market garden) where sales/taxable income can be verified, and irrigation provided the water use is licensed and approved by Water Security Agency (WSA) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Producers who own, lease or rent property where livestock and poultry are grown, bred, kept, raised, displayed, assembled or disposed of, require a Saskatchewan Premises Identification (PID) number.
  • Persons related to an eligible applicant will be subject to the program’s maximum funding cap for that eligible applicant. Related applicants include:
    • The maximum amount that may be paid to an eligible applicant, including persons related to an eligible applicant, may not exceed the maximum funding cap per applicant/related entity over the life of the program.
    • “Related applicants” include but are not limited to spouses, business partners, relatives living in the same residence, individuals/entities that have controlling interests in more than one operation and operations that are not legally, financially or operationally sufficiently independent of other entities.
    • In determining whether a person/entity is a related applicant, the ministry may consider the following factors:
      • whether the person/entity is engaged in a common enterprise with the applicant as a corporate affiliate or subsidiary, partner, member of a joint venture, trustee of a trust or estate in which the eligible applicant has a substantial beneficial interest or any other relationship which evidences an intention to share the profits or risk of loss of the operation with the eligible applicant;
      • whether the person/entity makes operational decisions in respect of the operation or makes those decisions jointly or in common with the eligible applicant;
      • whether the person is responsible to ensure that day-to-day operations are completed respecting the operation;
      • whether the person/entity and the applicant have access to common assets such as land, machinery, processing equipment, crop storage or animal handling facilities used in the operation;
      • whether the person/entity files separate income and expense statements for income tax purposes;
      • whether the person/entity maintains separate farm or business accounting records;
      • whether the person maintains a separate bank, credit union or trust company account;
      • whether the person has a separate Goods and Services Tax number;
      • whether the person/entity has any other financial interest in the operation; and
      • any other matter the ministry believes is relevant to the legal, financial or operational independence of the operation.
    • For more information about related entities, please send an email to agprograms@gov.sk.ca or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377. 

Before You Apply

Pre-approval is required for all small dam projects. Applicants must meet all regulatory requirements for water development projects, many of which are required prior to commencing work. If all required approvals are not obtained, the project may be ineligible for funding. Applicants will need to work with the Water Security Agency’s (WSA) Agricultural Services and Economic Development group who will support them through the design and regulatory approval process.

Approvals include:

  • Written authorization from the landowner is required if a project is constructed on land not owned by the applicant. For projects on Crown land, contact your local Ministry of Agriculture lands branch representative.
  • Applicants must work with the Water Security Agency (WSA) to ensure a multi-producer small dam is licensed for multiple-users and the appropriate land control/sanctions are in place.
  • If a small dam will be developed in the bed, bank or boundary of a water body or watercourse, an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit (AHPP) from WSA is required prior to commencing the project. These permits cannot be issued retroactively.
  • A Water Rights Licence and Approval to Construct and Operate Works from the Water Security Agency is required for:
    • Small dams. If a project includes works (dams, dykes, ditches, etc.) for the diversion or impoundment of water, a Water Rights Licence and Approval to Construct and Operate is required.
    • Water development projects where annual usage exceeds 5,000 cubic metres (1.1 million gallons).
    • A Water Rights Licence from WSA is required for any project developed by an applicant that does not qualify for the domestic use exemption (i.e., Rural Municipalities, Hutterite Colonies and Crown Land Pasture Associations).
    • Pipeline projects where the point of diversion (water source) or point of use (water distribution) is not on land owned or controlled by the applicant.
  • If a pipeline will cross either a developed or undeveloped road allowance, approval from the rural municipality is required. For pipelines crossing highways, contact the Ministry of Highways for approval.
  • Any other standards or approvals as required by law.

It is the responsibility of the producer to determine if a project is located in an environmentally sensitive area. The online mapping tool is available to assist producers in recognizing if their project(s) is/are located in these areas.

For environmentally sensitive land, authorization and consent is required when the project is located on land or is crossing land, with the following designations:

  • Any Crown lease lands designated under The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act (WHPA) require project approval prior to commencing work. Please contact your local Ministry of Agriculture lands branch representative for more information.
  • Any lands with a Crown Conservation Easement (CCE) registered on title require project approval prior to commencing work. Please contact the Ministry of Environment at 1-800-567-4224 for more information.
  • Any private or Crown lands federally designated as critical habitat under the Species at Risk Act for a federally listed species at risk, require project approval prior to commencing work. To determine if your project is on critical habitat land, please call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre, toll free at 1-866-457-2377.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible expenses for small dam projects may include:

  • Fees for Permit to Construct Groundwater Investigation, Water Rights Licensing and Approval to Construct and Operate from the Water Security Agency.
  • Consultant and/or engineering fees (e.g., hydro-geologist, materials analysis, project design, etc.).
  • Small dam construction with a height of embankment of 2.5 metres or less. The height of embankment is measured from the natural bed elevation of the stream or watercourse to the top of the embankment. Only the construction of a new dam will be considered. The repair of existing and/or unregulated works is not eligible.
  • A new small dam may also include installation of a wet well, which will include funding for casing and gravel.
  • Pumps, pipelines, and miscellaneous plumbing materials including:
    • Pump (electric, solar, wind);
    • Pump controller;
    • Pipe;
    • Floating intake (dam);
    • Pressure system; and
    • Pitless adapter, fittings and connectors.
  • Permanently installed water storage tanks (minimum 1,000 US gallons/3,700 litres) to a maximum rebate of $5,000 per eligible project.
    • Storage tanks associated with new dam projects must include a livestock watering system for distribution.
    • Cisterns and costs to bury/install for water storage is eligible for livestock watering only.
    • Troughs over 1,000 gallons can be considered storage and will not count toward the watering appliance maximum rebate cap.
    • Installation and third-party freight (not included in the maximum rebate).
  • Permanent fencing to exclude livestock from a new dam. To a maximum rebate of $750 per eligible project.
    • Posts, wire, labour, equipment. Must have invoices for materials.
  • Watering appliance:
    • Watering bowl and pad, nose pumps, hydrant or water trough. Water troughs must have a capacity of at least 100 gallons.
    • Maximum rebate of $2,500 per eligible applicant over the life of Sustainable CAP.
    • Installation and third-party freight (not included in the maximum rebate).
    • Each applicant’s eligible portion of funding for watering appliances will be applied against their individual applicant maximum funding for watering appliances (i.e., $2,500) over the term of Sustainable CAP.
  • Power infrastructure – an eligible applicant’s combined maximum funding for eligible power infrastructure and hook-up under FRWIP, including SaskPower service installation and/or purchases of solar/wind/composite livestock watering systems is $20,000 over the term of Sustainable CAP.
    • Solar/wind/composite livestock watering systems including water storage and/or distribution system used to provide a water source for livestock. Applicants may purchase an all-in-one system or purchase components separately from different vendors.
    • Water monitoring equipment is eligible if part of a power infrastructure purchase.
    • Third-party freight (not included in the maximum rebate).
    • Each applicant’s eligible portion of funding for power will be applied against their individual applicant maximum funding for power (i.e., $20,000) over the term of Sustainable CAP.
  • Trenching or directional boring and pipe from the small dam to a wet well to a pressure system and to the water distribution points.
  • In-kind labour is funded at $22 per hour to a maximum rebate of $250 per project. There is no allocation for supervising projects. In-kind labour cannot be claimed if the same work has been invoiced by a contractor.
  • In-kind machinery/equipment. Use rates established in the Farm Machinery Custom Rate and Rental Guide for class of machinery used.

Ineligible Activities or Expenses

Ineligible activities or expenses include:

  • Projects (and any expenditures) commencing prior to October 1, 2022.
  • Invoices not issued in any of the multiple applicant’s names.
  • Connections to potable water utilities.
  • Water resources developed solely for household use, washing and toilet facilities or washing machinery.
  • Generators.
  • All-in-one solar powered water pumping systems for livestock as a standalone item. Must be purchased in conjunction with a new water development project.
  • Gas/diesel powered water pumps or distribution pumps.
  • Distribution hoses from the water storage tank (crop spraying).
  • Water quality enhancement systems (e.g., aeration systems, filtration systems, chlorinators, reverse osmosis, etc.).
  • Water meters (for rural water connections).
  • Water storage tanks with a volume under 1,000 US gallons/3,700 litres.
  • Water storage tanks not permanently connected to the project infrastructure (i.e., hauling water for livestock watering or crop spraying). For the purposes of the program, permanent refers to a stationary location, plumbed to the infrastructure and remaining in one location for the duration of a season.
  • Watering devices/accessories installed on frozen dugouts.
  • Gravel as a base for a storage tank or trough.
  • Landscaping or removal/hauling dugout spoil piles including separating topsoil from clay.
  • Hauling or pumping water to fill/empty dugouts.
  • Above ground pipelines.
  • In‐kind (applicant claimed) freight/mileage to and from project site.
  • In‐kind (applicant owned) materials such as rocks, sand, gravel or clay.
  • In-kind payment (e.g., trading) for third party services/supplies.
  • Used, leased or fabricated materials and infrastructure, including equipment purchased at auction. To be eligible, items must be purchased new from a recognized dealer. For the purposes of the program, a recognized dealer is typically defined as a business where manufacturing is a key service or the business is an authorized dealer for a certain item(s).
  • Materials from inventory or items where previous use cannot be determined (e.g., water troughs, water storage tanks, solar systems, solar panels, etc.).
  • Materials and construction costs for pump houses or underground culverts to house a pressure system (excludes community water development projects).
  • Removal and disposal of above ground structures.
  • Basic repair and maintenance, ongoing expenses, or replacement of existing infrastructure such as small dams, water appliances, storage tanks, water troughs or solar watering equipment.
  • Seismic testing/water witching.
  • Extended warranty or insurance costs.
  • Non-permanent fencing (e.g., corral panels, bale feeders, etc.).
  • Electric fencers/energizers.
  • Fencing to keep cattle out of a water source that is not part of a qualifying water project.
  • Purchase of land/property or payment of easements.
  • Taxes, financing fees, interest charges or legal fees.
  • Fees paid to third parties for application support.
  • Applicant/employee administration costs.
  • Any submissions for rebate using a third-party contractor must be from a contractor who is third-party arm’s length, or the submission will be considered in kind labour and original invoices for all materials will be required.
  • Costs claimed for expenses/activities which may receive funding under other Sustainable CAP programs, or any other government grant, rebate or assistance program.

Apply

Review the FRWIP details including eligibility and the most common regulatory compliance items that may apply to your project.

Applications for pre-approval must be submitted by December 31, 2027, for projects to be completed on or before March 31, 2028.

For single producer applications, please fill out the application form in its entirety and follow instructions below on how to submit.

For multi-producer applicants, please have each unrelated entity complete an application form in its entirety and ensure parts 4 and 5 of application form are consistent with all other applicants. For the multi-producer application to be considered complete, each participating applicant must submit a complete application. Payments will be made based on cost percentages indicated by applicants at time of claim.

Claim forms will be sent to eligible applicants when pre-approval for the project has been obtained. When the project is fully constructed and operational for agricultural use, claims for funding may be submitted. All invoices must be paid in full before applying for the rebate. Proof of payment may be requested in the form of bank/credit card statements or processed cheque images from your financial institution. No interim payments will be made. Please submit copies of invoices as originals will not be returned.

Projects must be complete and claims for funding submitted the earlier of 18 months from written project approval or March 31, 2028.

Download the Small Dam Pre-Approval Application Form

Note: It is recommended this application form is saved to your computer before entering in your information.

Completed application packages can be submitted by email to agprograms@gov.sk.ca or by mail to:
Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program
Ministry of Agriculture, Programs Branch
329 – 3085 Albert Street
Regina SK  S4S 0B1

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