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The Importance Of Water
The importance of irrigation to Southern Alberta cannot be over-emphasized. Agriculture provides everyone with the basic ingredient needed to sustain life - food. And to improve the efficiency of agriculture, land irrigation is the key requirement. Water dependably supplied by irrigation can increase the productivity of farm land by up to 500 per cent.
The Bow River Irrigation District (B.R.I.D.) contains the third largest area under irrigation of Alberta's thirteen irrigation districts - approximately 213,400 acres or 86,360 hectares in 2004. In 2003, the B.R.I.D. irrigators voted to expand the area of the District. Final expansion is scheduled to be complete by 2007, to bring the total irrigated area to approximately 232,000 acres (93,890 hectares).
The concept for what was to eventually become the B.R.I.D. began in 1906 with the Southern Alberta Land Company which eventually became the Canada Land and Irrigation Company (CL&IC). Construction actually began in 1909 at the main diversion on the Bow River near Carseland. After delays caused by financial difficulties and the outbreak of World War 1, the first delivery of water took place in 1920. By 1921, 9,400 acres (3,804 hectares) were being irrigated. The acreage under water had increased to 30,000 acres (12,141 hectares) by 1930.
The Canadian Government purchased all the land and assets of the CL&IC in 1950 and turned control over to the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (P.F.R.A.) In 1968, the Bow River Irrigation District was created and took over the Bow River Development Crown Corporation in the Enchant area. In 1974 the B.R.I.D. was expanded when the federally owned Bow River Project at Vauxhall and Hays was amalgamated with the B.R.I.D. Headquarters for this organization are located at Vauxhall; about 250 kilometers south east of Calgary. With the completion of a new Office/Shop Complex in 1998, all departments are under one roof situated on a 38 acre parcel of land abutting Vauxhall's northern boundary.
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