Participants in an April 26 tour of the Milk River region explored the mouth of the so-called irrigation “Spite Ditch” developed in the early 1900s.  |  Barb Glen photo

Spite leads to international water agreement

Southern Alberta canal was accused at the time of ‘lacking in friendlyness,’ but a friendlier mood eventually prevailed

MILK RIVER, Alta. — The southern Alberta prairie is gradually reclaiming a humble-looking trench built more than 100 years ago to ensure farmers in the Milk River region were able to draw water and irrigate their land. At the time, its construction created an international incident but it ultimately led to a long-standing historical agreement […] 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

Agricultural production in Western Canada is already being impacted by changing global weather patterns accordng to John Pomeroy, the Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change at the University of Saskatchewan. | File photo

Canadian water laws due for revision, says expert

One of Canada’s leading experts on fresh water management says political leaders need to review laws and regulations that govern water use in the country. John Pomeroy, the Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, says federal and provincial water laws need to be updated to ensure that Canada is prepared for pressing […] Read more


Ralph Goodale, the only Liberal MP from Saskatchewan, says it’s time for the provinces to get more serious about managing the country’s fresh water resources.
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‘Bold vision’ needed for water management: Goodale

Cabinet minister says Ottawa plans to spend more than $25 billion over 12 years for ‘green infrastructure’ projects


Ralph Goodale, the only Liberal MP from Saskatchewan, says it’s time for the provinces to get more serious about managing the country’s fresh water resources. Speaking Aug. 13 to delegates at the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage conference in Saskatoon, Goodale said water management experts and provincial decision makers need to work together to […] Read more

Jay Famiglietti is the incoming executive director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory senior water scientist has also been recruited to the University of Saskatchewan Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing.  |  Steve Anderson Photography

Water management called major challenge for world

The most productive agricultural regions around the world are working to improve yields in the face of changing climate and disappearing groundwater, said a world-leading American water scientist. “We use more water (annually) than is available to us in many parts of the world. So, we’re making up the difference from groundwater,” said Jay Famiglietti, […] Read more


Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said she has directed her staff to meet with every rancher who has water licence issues and ensure they have access to the water they need for their operations.
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Minister reassures Alta. producers over water licences

One producer is not satisfied with response and is continuing his appeal of earlier decision to close his water licences

Confusion over the status of farmers’ and ranchers’ water licences in southern Alberta continues to simmer, prompting a response from the environment minister last week. Alberta Environment is reviewing more than 1,000 water licences in the South Saskatchewan River watershed region, some of them long standing. The review raised fears about potential licence cancellation, which […] Read more

Proposed regulations within the province's Water Sustainability Act are meant to clarify livestock water use and development on crown range and private land. In addition, the proposal allows for livestock watering use on leased reserve lands, treaty land or title lands where the First Nation consents to the grazing activity on those lands. | File photo

B.C. seeks input on livestock water use rules

The British Columbia government is seeking public comments on its livestock water regulations by Feb. 16. The proposed regulations within the province’s Water Sustainability Act, which was passed in 2016, are meant to clarify livestock water use and development on crown range and private land. In addition, the proposal allows for livestock watering use on […] Read more

Shannon Frank, executive director of the Oldman Watershed Council, stands in front of a map of the watershed.  |  File photo

Oldman Watershed Council focuses on public relations

Southern Alberta’s Oldman Watershed Council is hoping to conscript farmers and ranchers in an ongoing quest to tell consumers about water, food production and good management. OWC executive director Shannon Frank told those at the recent Alberta Irrigation Projects Association meeting that “a global implosion of trust” has affected the public view of agriculture, and […] Read more


There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, especially if you can grow an extra 100 bushels of canola on low land that had once been a pothole.   |  Nathan Rudko photo

Water Cannon blasts 2,000 gallons per minute

LANGHAM, Sask. — Large-scale drainage of prairie sloughs and potholes can cause serious flooding issues downstream. Hydrologists concerned with soil moisture depletion say most remaining wetlands cannot be economically drained, nor should they be. However, a dozen or more shallow little nuisance ponds scattered across a half-section field affect not only seeding operations but also […] Read more

Bill 44 was passed without amendment and paves the way for the creation of two advisory boards in place of the Water Appeal Board. | File photo

Water legislation passed in Sask.

The legislation to support Saskatchewan’s agricultural water management strategy has passed third reading in the legislature. Bill 44 was passed without amendment and paves the way for the creation of two advisory boards in place of the Water Appeal Board. One board will provide advice on policy development and the other will be a technical […] Read more