The development of large irrigation projects in Southern Alberta over 100 years ago brought secure water supplies to a previously arid landscape, establishing irrigation as an integral part of our society and environment. On October 9, 2020 the Government of Alberta and the Canada Infrastructure Bank announced an $815 million investment in partnership with eight irrigation districts to “modernize irrigation district infrastructure and increase water storage capacity”, which is now known as the Alberta Irrigation Modernization Program. The announcement projected that over 200,000 acres of new irrigated farmland would be created from this “single largest irrigation expansion in Alberta’s history”. On November 12, 2021 it was announced that two more irrigation districts and numerous additional projects were included, with the program value increased to $933 million. The presentation will cover details of the Alberta Irrigation Modernization Program and compare its projected impact to past irrigation modernization and expansion.
Speaker: Richard Phillips
Richard is the chair of Irrigating Alberta Inc., the consortium of irrigation districts participating in the Alberta Irrigation Modernization Program. He has been with the Bow River Irrigation District since 1996, initially as the district engineer, and as the general manager since 2004. He serves as vice chair of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association and the Bow River Basin Council and chair of the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission. He has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta and is a professional engineer. He enjoys fishing and a variety of other outdoor recreational activities.