Human Use of Water and Livestock Sustenance Declaration – December 6, 2010

The Alberta Irrigation Projects Association is composed of all 13 irrigation districts in Alberta, duly constituted under the Irrigation Districts Act.  These member districts of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association declare the following: 

WHEREAS the member districts of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association have been granted by the Government of Alberta water licences of considerable quantity for irrigation under the principle of prior allocation; and 

WHEREAS the member districts of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association have prior right to that licensed water relative to the right of most of the licensees in the area of the Province of Alberta surrounding the irrigation districts, and 

WHEREAS the members of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association recognize that water is vital to sustain human health and well-being, and that of livestock, and 

WHEREAS drought conditions are recurrent in southern Alberta as a result of variability of the weather; 

THEREFORE the member districts of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association agree to the following: 

That in the case of water shortage due to drought conditions that can occur in southern Alberta, the member districts of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association assure, within their right to control, the following: 

  1. that water required for the basic needs of humans, as defined by the World Health Organization* for “Optimal access service level,” and for livestock sustenance will take priority over any water use for irrigation, and 
  1. that the member districts will participate in water sharing with other licence holders in good faith so that sufficient water can be distributed for basic human use and for sustenance of livestock.  

*Howard, G. And Bartram, J. 2003. p. 22. Domestic water quantity, service, level and health.  World Health Organization.

Background Information:

Alberta’s 13 irrigation districts deliver water to over 500,000 hectares of land to grow 42 different crops such as sweet corn, potatoes, sugar beets, dry beans, wheat, barley, alfalfa, specialty crops and many types of vegetables.  The districts also deliver water to 48 communities and thousands of rural households.  The water allocated to the districts collectively is approximately 3.4 billion cubic metres of water annually, 63% of which is used on-average.  

The Alberta Irrigation Projects Association is a facilitating umbrella organization of the districts which helps the districts achieve the goal:  “We seek after the highest standards of water management in support of the economic and social well-being of Alberta’s people and the health of its landscapes and water resources.” 

In the year 2001, a year of severe drought, the irrigation districts worked with other licensees, facilitated by Alberta Environment and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, to share water so that water would be available for communities, industry, and other agricultural operations.  This spirit of community cooperation among nearly all licensees was recognized with an award from the Irrigation Association, an international organization based in the USA.  It is in that spirit of community cooperation that the Irrigation Districts of Alberta make the above declaration.  Those districts in agreement to this declaration include:

Aetna Irrigation District
Ralph Price – Secretary
Box 160, Cardston, Alberta, T0K 0K0
Phone:  403-653-4424
Raymond Irrigation District
Gordon ZoBell -  General Manager
Box 538, Raymond, Alberta, T0K 2S0
Phone: 403-752-3511
Bow River Irrigation District                                                  Richard Phillips – General Manager                                       
Box 140, Vauxhall, Alberta, T0K 2K0
Phone: 403-654-2111
Ross Creek Irrigation District
Mat Zmurchyk - Manager
11501 Range Road 40, Cypress County, AB, T1B 0K2
 Phone: 403-529-9182
Eastern Irrigation District
Earl Wilson – General Manager
Bag 8, 550 Industrial Road
Brooks, Alberta, T1R 1B2
Phone: 403-362-1400
St. Mary River Irrigation District
Tom Crooks – General Manager 
1210-36 Street North
Lethbridge, Alberta, T1H 5H8
Phone: 403-328-4401
Leavitt Irrigation District
Jason Comin – Secretary/Manager
Box 1665, Cardston, Alberta, T0K 0K0
Phone : 403-653-2397
Taber Irrigation District 
Kent Bullock – General Manager
4420 44 Street, Taber, Alberta, T1G 2J6  
Phone: 403-223-2148    
Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District
Alan Harrold - General Manager
334-13 Street North, Lethbridge, Alberta, T1H 2R8
Phone: 403-327-3302
United Irrigation District
Fred Rice – General Manager
Box 1006, Glenwood, Alberta, T0K 2R0
Phone: 403-626-3255 
Magrath Irrigation District
Low Hansen – Manager
Box 322, Magrath, Alberta, T0K 1J0
Phone: 403-758-3400
Western Irrigation District
Erwin Braun – General Manager
Box 2372, 105-900 Pine Road, Strathmore, Alberta, T1P 1K3
Phone: 403-934-3542
Mountain View Irrigation District
Jocelyn Wright – Secretary/ Manager
Box 94 Mountain View, AB, T0K 1N0
Phone: 403-653-2447

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