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Water Development Projects

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.

The pre-approval stream for water development projects is not an alternative for producer applicants whose standard water development projects (wells, dugout and pipelines) exceed the maximum funding offered through FRWIP's rebate stream. Eligible projects include development of community wells by rural municipalities or First Nation Bands and connections to non-potable rural water utilities.

Applicants are encouraged to assess their project against the program criteria and review program eligibility.

Eligible Projects

Projects considered for pre-approval include:

  • Community water development project for agricultural use (e.g., small‐diameter and large‐diameter wells in conjunction with a community tank loading facility, dugouts in conjunction with a community tank loading facility or increasing storage capacity at an existing community tank loading facility to reduce tank loading times).
    • Rural municipalities and First Nation Bands are eligible to construct community water developments.
  • Connection to a non-potable rural water utility (multi-user pipeline) will be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must be able to demonstrate attempts to develop other non-potable water resources (e.g., dugouts or wells) have not been successful.
    • Water must be for agricultural use. Yard, shop and household use do not qualify.

Funding Details

  • 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.
  • Approved community water development projects and non-potable rural water utility connections are eligible for a rebate of 50 per cent of pre‑approved eligible costs to a maximum payment of $150,000, over the five-year program term of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2028. The deadline for submitting applications for pre-approval is December 31, 2027, for projects to be completed by March 31, 2028.

Applicant Eligibility

  • First Nation Bands in the Province of Saskatchewan.
  • Crown Land Pasture Grazing Associations in Saskatchewan.
  • Rural Municipalities in the Province of Saskatchewan.
  • 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.

First Nation Bands 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 Centre at 1-866-457-2377 and ask to be connected with one of our BASIS team members.

Eligibility Criteria/Other Parameters

  • Projects started, but not completed, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (completed before March 31, 2023), may still be eligible under Sustainable CAP. Expenses incurred after October 1, 2022, will be eligible under the Sustainable CAP program and rules.
  • 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 Crops and Irrigation Branch.
  • 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 which 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 that 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 water development 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.

Approvals may 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.
  • If the applicant is a rural municipality, they must provide a copy of the resolution from Council authorizing the project and application to the program.
  • If a water development project will occur 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.
  • Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Groundwater and/or Surface Water Approval. A Water Rights Licence and Approval to Construct and Operate Works from WSA is required for:
    • 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 Municipality, Hutterite Colony and Crown Land Pasture Grazing Association).
    • 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.
  • Wells drilled or bored in Saskatchewan must be completed by well drillers registered annually in Saskatchewan with the WSA.
  • 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. If all required approvals are not obtained, the project will be ineligible for funding. 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 private lands with a Crown Conservation Easement 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 water development projects may include:

  • Fees for Permit to Construct Groundwater Investigation, Water Rights Licensing and Approval to Construct and Operate from WSA.
  • Consultant and/or engineering fees (e.g., hydro-geologist, materials analysis, project design, etc.).
  • Groundwater exploration/test holes. The expenses for test holes may be claimed even if the well project does not proceed.
  • Well drilling, boring or construction.
  • Screening and casing for wells.
  • Gravel for large diameter wells.
  • Construction/excavation of new dugouts. A new dugout or dugout expansion may also include installation of a wet well, including funding for casing and gravel.
  • Trenching or directional boring and pipe from well to pressure system and to the water distribution point or tank loading site.
  • Pumps, pipeline, and miscellaneous plumbing materials including:
    • Pump (electric, solar, wind);
    • Pump controller;
    • Pipe;
    • Floating intake (dugouts);
    • 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. There is no maximum for community water development projects.
  • Permanent fencing to exclude livestock from a new water source 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).
  • Power infrastructure - with the exception of community water development projects, the 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).
  • In-kind labour is funded at $22/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.
  • For connections to non-potable rural water utilities:
    • A maximum program payment of $15,000 for multi-user pipeline subscription/connection fees, per eligible applicant, per-approved project.
  • For community water development projects only:
    • Power installation and hook-up; SaskPower service installation is eligible to a maximum rebate of $20,000 per approved project;
    • Buildings and infrastructure associated with the well, pump house and tank loading facility; and
    • Access (road construction).

Ineligible Activities or Expenses

Ineligible activities or expenses include:

  • Projects commencing prior to October 1, 2022.
  • Invoices not issued in the applicant's name.
  • 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.
  • Development of sandpoint wells.
  • 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. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for pre-approval early.

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.

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

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

Download the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program Pre-Approval Application Form

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

Completed application packages can be submitted by email to agprograms@gov.sk.ca or 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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