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Moose Jaw irrigation project last part of 20-year expansion

Soil testing of the Moose Jaw project will happen this spring
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An irrigation project northwest of Moose Jaw will be the third phase of a 20-year irrigation expansion in Saskatchewan

The first two phases will develop north of Lake Diefenbaker, said Clinton Molde, executive-director of integrated water services with the Water Security Agency.

Soil testing of the Moose Jaw project, called South Qu’Appelle Conveyance Project, will happen this spring.

When fully developed, the Conveyance project will irrigate 120,000 acres with a canal to Buffalo Pound Lake supplying water for industrial and residential use in Southern Saskatchewan.

Presentations made to communities in the expansion districts have been met with “the sooner the better” responses.

The project will require a water storage reservoir near Highway 42.

Phase One will develop 80,000 acres north of the Gardiner dam towards Conquest and will use a nearly completed canal from the 1970s.

The canal will need expansion to four times capacity to accommodate the flow needed for 320,000 acre Phase Two. 

That phase runs to Asquith and near Rosetown.

There is more than enough water for the expansions, said Molde.

About half of the lake capacity is renewed by annual inflows on average.

The water used when the 20-year development is completed amounts to “five to seven feet off the top when it is full.”

Studies still needed to compete the environmental assessment process include soil testing, geotechnical tests and LIDAR (Light Detection and Range) technology for topography data.

Molde’s presentation was made to a virtual conference of the Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net