Western Economic Diversification Canada releases report on Prairie water and land management
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, August 31, 2020 – Western Economic Diversification Canada
The Government of Canada is taking action to address the impact of climate change on water and land resources and help position Saskatchewan and the Prairies as global leaders in agri-food production and processing. In 2019, the Government invested up to $1 million to work with partners and stakeholders to develop a new approach to sustainably manage water and land on the Prairies. Over the past 16 months, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has been examining sustainable water management in the context of climate volatility and identifying opportunities to enhance food security while improving the economic outlook for communities on the Prairies.
Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, together with Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) released a report on this work, Prairie Prosperity: A Vision for the Management of Water across Saskatchewan and the Prairies.
WD engaged widely. This work began with the Prairie Water Summit in June 2019 in Regina, which was attended by over 130 experts, Indigenous leaders, provincial, federal and municipal officials, industry representatives, and non-governmental organizations. The results of the Summit and subsequent engagement, as well as new research and analysis on economic and environmental impacts, are all reflected in this report.
The report recommends developing the infrastructure needed to expand irrigation in central Saskatchewan, including the Westside Irrigation Project and Upper Qu’Appelle Canal, projects which the Province of Saskatchewan recently committed to developing. Advancing the recommendation of this report will help reduce the impacts of climate change, particularly more severe droughts and floods on Prairie communities and agricultural producers, while also positioning Saskatchewan and the Prairies as global leaders in agri-food production and processing.
The economic development potential of these irrigation projects is significant. The Government of Canada recognizes the potential for environmental and social impacts for many communities and stakeholders. There is a need for important discussions and decisions before moving forward, including consultation, legislative and regulatory requirements.
“The Government of Canada is supporting growth and prosperity as we help to ensure a sustainable supply of water available to cities and towns, Indigenous communities, farms and industry across the Prairies. Prairie Prosperity: A Vision for the Management of Water across Saskatchewan and the Prairies is a first step, providing a starting point for discussions and activities to advance transformative infrastructure and work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada
“Western Economic Diversification Canada’s work has culminated in the development of a recommendation that could lead to transformative change, enhance resilience, and support prosperity for generations to come. This is a critical opportunity for Saskatchewan and the Prairies to secure their place as global leaders in agri-food production and water management, while also leaving future generations with a more sustainable economy and good jobs."
- Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada)
Unlocking the potential for Prairie agricultural producers and value-added processors to become global leaders in agri-food production requires reliable access to water.
The Government of Canada supports a vision where Saskatchewan harnesses its agricultural and growth potential for the benefit of all, and where the water resources across the Prairies are safeguarded. Achieving this vision will benefit all residents across the Prairies for generations to come.
Using the water resources of Lake Diefenbaker, the Upper Qu’Appelle Canal, and the Westside Irrigation Project could enhance water security and support irrigation expansion by almost 500,000 acres in south central Saskatchewan.
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada
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