Peter Onofreychuk and his son, Mark, on their farmland near MacNutt, Sask. The Blackbird Creek has at times flooded surrounding land due to agricultural drainage upstream. | Karen Briere photo

Settlement in sight for Sask. water dispute

Peter Onofreychuk has complained since 2011 that upstream agricultural drainage has flooded his farmland

MACNUTT, Sask. — A settlement in a long-running drainage dispute in east-central Saskatchewan is in the works. After meeting with a mediator May 8, lawyers for Peter Onofreychuk and the Smith Creek Regional Watershed Association are drafting an agreement that will see water flow more evenly through Onofreychuk’s land under a conservation and development project. […] Read more

Tim Mitschke, left, David Zerr and Neil Rathgeber from the Langenburg and Churchbridge rural municipalities advocate for organized agricultural water management. | Karen Briere photo

Sask. farmers defend well-planned agricultural drainage

LANGENBURG, Sask. — Advocates of organized agricultural drainage say well-planned projects are key to keeping communities and people safe and land arable. They say the practice of draining water off cultivated land is often misunderstood, and they bristle at criticism that they are not environmentally friendly. “We are perplexed by environmental claims that we’re damaging […] Read more

The Saskatchewan government is investing $5 million in agricultural water management. | File photo

Sask. injects $5 million into managing drainage issues

The Saskatchewan government is investing $5 million in agricultural water management. Premier Scott Moe announced on March 13 the Saskatchewan Conservation and Development Association (SCDA) will receive the funds to help develop conservation and development area authorities (C and D). “I think it’s fair for all of us to say that we all have more […] Read more


SaskFSA says the drainage strategy that the Saskatchewan government implemented in 2016 is still a work in progress.  |  File photo

Eastern Sask. farmer wrestles with drainage approval

KIPLING, Sask. — Eric Widdup says the Water Security Agency’s permitting process for agricultural drainage is exasperating. “The politics and the red tape involved are overwhelming,” he told a Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities division meeting last month. “It’s almost like pulling teeth to get an ag drainage permit. The process is at best dysfunctional […] Read more

Bullet provides low-cost alternative

BRANDON — Tile drainage may be the best solution to managing saturated soils, but the cost is prohibitive for many producers. However, a low-cost mechanical mole boring temporary tunnels may serve the same purpose. Imagine a torpedo-shaped four-inch diameter slug of iron being pulled through your field at a depth of two or three feet. […] Read more


Swan River, Man., farmer/inventor Jeff Penner says his V-Wing allows farmers to build wide, shallow surface drains, which keep the water on the land longer so it can infiltrate the soil. University of Manitoba soil scientist David Lobb says the idea may work sometimes, but snow melt won’t percolate into frozen soil. He says higher organic content and better soil structure are the key elements to improving water infiltration.  |  Chris Laing photo

Field drainage: just scratch the surface

BRANDON — Most surface drainage work performed on the Prairies until recently was based on the “deep thinking school of thought” of the 19th century — but the deep thinking scholars are gone. Two changes have taken place recently. First, in many people’s opinion, the biggest step has been affordable RTK technology, which allows farmers […] Read more

On this 72-acre field at East Selkirk, orange depicts the 24 acres lost to flooding in 2014 before any drainage work had been done.  Blue depicts the 10 acres lost in 2015 after some drainage had been accomplished.  Farms in this area typically lose 20 percent of their crop in wet years, which sometimes happen six years in a row.  |  Mitch Rezansoff image

Drain your water not your dollars

Farmland northeast of Winnipeg can produce great yields… if it doesn’t rain… but generally it rains. “Drought” is a word that doesn’t exist in farmer’s vocabulary around here. “Flood” is a common word though. The prevalent winds come sweeping down from the northwest, sucking up moisture from Lake Winnipegosis, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. The […] Read more

The Transformer earns its name because it smoothly transitions between scraper, crown grader and ditcher by manipulating wing positions.  |  Bridgeview Manufacturing photo

Drainage design by drones

A UAV helicopter (unmanned aerial vehicle) bouncing a pulsating laser beam off the Earth’s surface can produce a topographical field map with sub-one-inch accuracy. The result is a highly precise drainage map. The system is called LIDAR, standing for Light Detection and Ranging. Until recently, it was only affordable in the realm of geoscience researchers. […] Read more


Swan River farmer Jeff Penner advocates wide shallow drains like this, which meander around the field so water soaks into the ground instead of flowing off the field.  |  Chris Laing photo

Drain without deluge: slow the water flow

FARGO, N.D. — Jeff Penner isn’t selling a machine so much as he’s selling a concept. He’s showing farmers how to achieve good drainage without letting a drop of water flow off the field. There’s an old saying about how everybody lives downstream from somebody else. Likewise, we also live upstream from somebody, which carries […] Read more

Sask. Environment Minister Scott Moe says any last minute changes must be consistent with the bill's primary goal, which is aimed at organizing and controlling agricultural drainage in the province. | File photo

Sask. farmers still have late chance to change drainage bill

There is still time to make changes to Bill 44, proposed legislation that would make significant amendments to the Water Security Agency Act, according to Saskatchewan Environment Minister Scott Moe. But time is of the essence. Any last minute changes need to received by government quickly and approved by the province, Moe told delegates at […] Read more