A new canal project is endeavoring to make water the fuel for the engine of future growth and industry in central Saskatchewan.
The Upper Qu'Appelle Conveyance Project: Economic Analysis Report was presented at Mosaic Place on Thursday to the public and stakeholders.
The report was presented by the Moose Jaw-Regina Industrial Corridor Stakeholders Committee and Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association.
The conveyance project would involve a large-scale canal system providing irrigation for growth and industry between Lake Diefenbaker and Buffalo Pound Lake.
According to Bob Parker, former South Central Enterprise Region's project manager who worked on the project, “the capital cost to build the conveyance would be close to $1.2 billion, consisting of a pump station at Lake Diefenbaker, a booster station north of Eyebrow, 86 kilometres of canal with a reservoir and spillway into Buffalo Pound Lake.”
“If we wait -- the project would probably cost $5 billion later on,” economist Dr. Graham Parsons, vice president of Clifton Association Lt. said. “It offers sustainable economic activity, it offers stability, feeding the world and increasing quality of life.”
Parsons discussed the need by industry for water to move into an area.
“You need a constant water supply and quality water to gain industry. We have to get past the stopgap solutions.”
In the current situation water quality declines when treated throughout the system because of silting and farm chemicals.
Parsons added more people would benefit if it were a multi-stakeholder project to benefit all in society. Issues of global warming, growing food shortages and water supply and demand were all used by Parsons to explain the necessity for such a large-scale project.
“It would offer security of income, supplies ... (and) adequate food supplies to help feed the world,” Parsons said.
Other facts touted during the presentation included Alberta being able to produce over 18 per cent of the agri-food gross domestic product for the province with four per cent of irrigated land. Unlike Alberta, Saskatchewan has less than one per cent in cultivated irrigated acreage.
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