Canada-Alberta Farm Water Program

ALBERTA - Long-term water supplies are vital for the continued long-term sustainability of Alberta's agriculture industry. In recognition of this fact, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development's (AAFRD) farm water program has provided support for more than 13,000 water development projects since its start in 2001.
calendar icon 10 November 2003
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Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development As of May 31, 2003, more than $25 million has been paid through the program in grants to help producers develop reliable supplies of fresh water for domestic use, livestock watering, fish farming and small scale irrigation.

Thanks to the recently signed Agriculture Policy Framework (APF) Implementation Agreement, a cash injection of $6 million in federal funding has increased water program funding to $11.5 million for the 2003/04 year.

The new Canada-Alberta Farm Water Program (CAFWP), which essentially replaces the previous program, pays one third of development costs, to a maximum of $5,000 per producer, for the following eligible water supply projects:

  • Wells that provide a long-term source of water that is more reliable than surface water sources during times of drought.

  • Dugouts that meet minimum size standards and provide a long-term water supply.

  • Stock dams, which are potentially eligible as reservoirs, that provide a source of water for livestock.

  • Spring developments that collect and hold underground water sources that make otherwise unusable water sources available for livestock.

  • Livestock, fish farming, small-scale irrigation or domestic water projects that are combined with field irrigation. While CAFWP does not fund field-scale irrigation, AAFRD recognizes that field irrigation development is often integrated with domestic, livestock or small-scale irrigation.

  • Farmsite connections to a new water source, which are added to the existing yardsite distribution system. This approach would also include development of remote water for pastures as part of a long-term system.

  • Pipelines for pastures, water co-op pipelines and water storage as part of a long-term system.

  • Fencing that enhances and protects the water supply.

  • Test holes, construction surveys, materials analysis or professional consultant fees to help producers make informed decisions related to sourcing of on-farm water supplies. These steps ensure the development of high quality, high volume water sources.

To be eligible under the CAFWP, active producers must produce $10,000 worth of farm commodities annually. Applicants have until March 31, 2004, to complete their projects and until April 15, 2004, to submit an application. AAFRD encourages producers to contact the Rural Services Division for resource information before beginning CAFWP projects.

Rural services staff will advise producers on program and project eligibility, while Alberta Agriculture Water Specialists/Technologists can help producers make informed decisions on the best farm water solutions and options available for their farms.

Water specialists have a wide range of technical experience and information, and can provide the producer with local surface and groundwater resource information, project design criteria, on-farm consultation and the latest water supply publications. Experience has shown that producers who accessed technical expertise on project design before construction realized a cost savings above and beyond the program funding.

Applications for the CAFWP can be obtained through the Rural Services Division of AAFRD, at MLA constituency offices, or they can be downloaded from the department website at

Source: Bacon Bits, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development - 10th November 2003
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