Lake Diefenbaker Development Area
With a large supply of high quality water, soils suitable for irrigation, and favourable growing conditions for many crops, Lake Diefenbaker Development Area (LDDA) has great potential for irrigation expansion and development. Irrigation is an essential component in developing and intensifying crop and animal agriculture on the prairies, with a related benefit to agricultural manufacturing and processing. Lake Diefenbaker Development Area is an administrative boundary encompassing a number of irrigation districts.
Large-scale irrigation development in the LDDA was made possible with the construction of Gardiner and Qu'Appelle Dams and the subsequent creation of Lake Diefenbaker. Lake Diefenbaker is a 140 mile (225 km) long reservoir with a usable storage volume of 3.2 Million acre feet (4 Million dam3*) of excellent quality irrigation water. It has an annual inflow of about 4.3 Million acre feet (5.3 Million dam3).
*Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, 2005.
Lake Diefenbaker contributes to a large network of water projects in Saskatchewan. Approximately 45 per cent of the province's population relies directly or indirectly on the water supply of the South Saskatchewan River. It contributes significantly to the water supply in Moose Jaw, Regina and many smaller communities via the Qu'Appelle River and Buffalo Pound Lake. The water level of the South Saskatchewan River running through the city of Saskatoon is regulated at Gardiner Dam. For more information on Lake Diefenbaker and the Gardiner Dam, see the Saskatchewan Water Security website https://www.wsask.ca/
The town of Outlook in LDDA has an average frost-free season of 114 days. The average dates of the last and first killing frosts (28 oF or -2 oC) are May 23 and September 15, respectively. The Outlook area receives 2,100 Corn Heat Units (CHU) 90 per cent of the time, with an average of 2,400 CHU (Corn Heat Units Maps). Total annual precipitation for the area is 13.5 inches (338 mm) with 8 inches total (200 mm) from May though August.
The total irrigated acreage in LDDA is about 101,000 acres (40,870 ha). District irrigators account for 62,854 acres (25,440 ha). There are also many private irrigators in the Lake Diefenbaker Development Area with a total contribution of 38,378 acres (15,530 ha).
District irrigators and private irrigators using water directly or indirectly from Lake Diefenbaker are allocated at least 18 acre inches of water. These irrigators can use water every year because of the dependable supply of water from this source. The trend in the LDDA has been to convert older surface irrigation projects to center pivot systems. Some center pivot systems are also being converted to low-pressure drop-nozzles, which require less energy to operate and lose less water to evaporation.
Irrigators in the LDDA have a diverse and Intensive crop mix. The irrigated crop rotation in LDDA grosses an average of $490 per acre, an increase of 60 per cent from the 1994 irrigation survey. In contrast, dryland agriculture in Saskatchewan grosses $88 per acre on average. Currently, potato, dry bean, timothy hay, corn silage, canola and alfalfa hay are high-value components of the irrigated rotation in LDDA.
Irrigation District Map – Lake Diefenbaker Development Area
The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation District Map shows irrigation districts, towns, and other features in the Lake Diefenbaker Development Area (LDDA). The map includes district acreages from 2004. The following irrigation districts are a part of the Lake Diefenbaker Development Area.
South Saskatchewan River Irrigation District uses a system of main canals and minor laterals to supply 35,271 acres of irrigated land. The Outlook area also has two regional water supply pipelines that supply rural homes and agri-business.
Macrorie Irrigation District pumps from a canal that extends from Gardiner Dam to the Macrorie area.
Luck Lake Irrigation District pumps water from Lake Diefenbaker through a pressurized pipeline system to irrigators. This system also supplies water to the Luck Lake Heritage Marsh, one of the largest Ducks Unlimited projects in North America. A separate pipeline supplies the town of Birsay and an extensive regional water supply pipeline.
Riverhurst Irrigation District has a pressurized pipeline which supplies irrigators, a regional park, and a local golf course with water from Lake Diefenbaker. This Riverhurst pipeline also extends to Thunder Creek, supplying consistent flow of good-quality water to this creek.
Thunder Creek Irrigation District operates in conjunction with a Ducks Unlimited project. Water from Lake Diefenbaker supplements runoff to Thunder Creek and Kettlehut Lake to support the Thunder Creek Heritage Marsh.
Grainland Irrigation District and River Lake Irrigation District are also supplied with high-quality water from Lake Diefenbaker.
Brownlee Irrigation District pumps from the upper reaches of the Qu'Appelle River.
The SSEWS (Saskatoon South East Water Supply) system supplies recreation, industrial, municipal, wildlife and agricultural water over 137 km of canal. The system supplies many private irrigators and also the Hillcrest Irrigation District. The water in the SSEWS is pumped out of Lake Diefenbaker and runs by gravity all the way to Dellwood reservoir near Lanigan.
Private irrigators (including those on the SSEWS) in the Lake Diefenbaker Development Area irrigate a total of 38,378 acres. The total irrigated acreage from district and private irrigators in LDDA is about 101,000 acres. District irrigators and private irrigators using water directly or indirectly from Lake Diefenbaker are allocated at least 18 acre inches of water every year. These irrigators can use water every year because of the dependable supply of water from this source.
The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation District Map