The Alberta Irrigation Districts Association recently released the Economic Value of Alberta’s Irrigation Districts, a study analyzing the economic impact of Alberta’s 13 irrigation districts during the period 2011 to 2018.
The study was conducted with methodology similar to a previous study published in 2015 that examined the impact of all irrigation-related activities throughout the province. Comparison of data between the two studies indicates that irrigation related activities in the 13 irrigation districts had a greater impact on the provincial economy from 2011 to 2018 than the impact observed from all provincial irrigation from 2000 to 2011.
Irrigated land within the 13 districts represents only 4.4% of the cultivated provincial land base, but annually contributes $5.4 billion to provincial GDP and $3.2 billion in labour income and supports about 46,000 full-time equivalent positions across the province.
Being able to supplement natural precipitation on farmland results in production of consistent and high quality agricultural product to support Alberta agri-food processors. The study shows irrigation contributes 27% of the total primary agricultural sales in Alberta and 28% of Alberta’s total Agri-food GDP.
The study also examined the Government of Alberta’s revenue to expenditure ratio for irrigation infrastructure finding that every $1.00 invested by GOA returns $3.56 in revenue to the province. The Government of Alberta’s support of irrigation infrastructure maintenance ensures efficient and reliable delivery of high-quality, to southern Alberta agricultural producers while providing the province with a significant return on investment.The Economic Value of Alberta’s Irrigation Districts publication is available for download at www.albertairrigation.ca