Conservation specialists concerned over irrigation expansion in southern Alberta – Lethbridge

On Oct. 13, the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) released a statement of concern relating to the potential environmental impacts of a large southern Alberta irrigation funding.

It was introduced final fall that $815 million in funding from the government of Alberta, Canada Infrastructure Bank and eight irrigation districts is going into modernizing irrigation infrastructure and increase water storage capacity throughout southern Alberta.

Its first section consists of the conversion of canals to pipelines, whereas the second phases concerned the growth of 4 reservoirs.

Learn extra:
‘Historic’ $815M irrigation investment announced for southern Alberta agriculture

“It sounded just like the mission hadn’t gone via any kind of public session interval or environmental influence evaluation,” conservation specialist with the AWA Phillip Meintzer instructed International Information.

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“Our issues had been actually round if instream flows — so the water that is still within the waterways for ecosystem wants — (whether or not) that was being thought-about.”

Meintzer mentioned the group isn’t against the tasks, because it understands the efficiencies that include it.

“If we will have an environmental evaluation completed that thought-about the cumulative impacts of this mission as an entire on instream flows, that’s type of our foremost precedence right here.”

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David Westwood, common supervisor of the St. Mary River Irrigation District, mentioned a complete of eight canal to pipeline conversions inside their jurisdiction are set to be full subsequent spring.

“That every one takes place on non-public land.

“There are not any necessities to conduct any kind of environmental influence assessments to try this type of work,” he defined, whereas including the reservoir growth would require an environmental influence evaluation.

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That mission has a timeline of eight years. He added there are potential advantages to the funding as properly.

“By way of these infrastructure tasks, we will irrigate extra acres with the identical quantity, or much less water, than we’re at the moment utilizing,” Westwood added.

“These canals had been man-made sooner or later inside the final century, and one of many mandates at any time when we do a conversion again to an enclosed pipeline, (and) put (it) underground, is that the panorama is returned to what its pure state was.”

International Information additionally reached out to the province for a response to the AWA’s issues, however was instructed it couldn’t present one on Wednesday.

© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc. | Conservation specialists involved over irrigation growth in southern Alberta – Lethbridge


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