any man-made way of applying water to land in order to grow food and other
crops. It helps farmers grow more and different kinds of crops. The quality of
the crop and the amount grown are also improved because the application of water
is there when needed, applied deliberately. Irrigation takes a lot of water.
These water delivery and crop-watering systems need to be used carefully to
protect the environment.
fortunate to have an abundance of fertile land. However, large portions of the
southern and eastern areas of the province receive very little rain or moisture.
The use of irrigation increases crop production and minimizes the
dangers of drought. Irrigation is one of the primary methods of improving
irrigation, it is possible to grow a wider variety of crops than was possible
before. Irrigation enables the growing of crops, such as sugar beets and soft
spring wheat, that would not survive with the limited rain and moisture found on the drier lands in Alberta. Finally, irrigation is also valuable in terms of
increasing the productivity of the crops already grown in these regions.
concerns with irrigation as well. There may be large amounts of water loss, not
used for the benefit of the crops. Because of this, knowing where and how these
water losses occur is the first step in improving irrigation water management
practices. Sugar beets and other vegetables, fruit, oats, alfalfa, and barley
are the principal irrigated crops.
irrigation developments in Alberta were when ranchers, in their efforts to grow
winter feed, diverted water from the smaller streams to adjoining native
meadowlands. The first recorded irrigation scheme was developed in 1879 when
John Glenn, a settler, created an irrigation ditch, which diverted water from
Fish Creek to irrigate native hay meadow. During the following years, numerous
small projects were developed throughout southern Alberta. These efforts
demonstrated the value of irrigation and indicated the probability of extensive
water use for irrigation in the future. Also apparent was the need for a
governmental authority to control this resource, to avoid any jurisdictional and
legal problems, which could arise without it. As a result, in 1894, the
Parliament of Canada passed the Northwest Irrigation Act.