St. Mary River and Taber Irrigation Districts Complete Amalgamation

August 1, 2022

The St. Mary River Irrigation District and Taber Irrigation District completed their planned amalgamation effective August 1, 2022 as a result of a Ministerial Order signed by Honorable Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.

The two districts petitioned the Minister on December 17, 2021 after each district voted in favor of amalgamation in the Fall of 2021.

Both the St. Mary River and Taber Irrigation Districts have proud histories dating back to the early 1900s when the St. Mary River irrigation project was first completed bringing water from the Rocky Mountains to the prairie farmland in Southern Alberta. The amalgamated district will be known as the St. Mary River Irrigation District in recognition of the St. Mary River which is the shared water source for the amalgamated district.

About Us

We, the staff and Board at the St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID), are fiercely proud that we support so much of the economic, agricultural, and environmental activities in Southern Alberta.

We are dedicated to our vision of supporting communities, environment, and agriculture in the area and to our mission to provide for future generations.

We strive to be committed citizens in Southern Alberta and are proud of the place we have in the history of irrigation and its positive impacts on the lives of citizens and our place in the past, present, and future of the area.

In order to maintain the delivery of water through a complex system of reservoirs, canals and pipelines to the many water users who are within our District, we have a staff of over 100 comprising full-time and part-time field and office staff in Lethbridge, Taber and Bow Island. These staff are responsible for the engineering, operations, and administration of the District.

Our licenses not only allow water for irrigation but for other uses such as municipal, industrial, recreational and environmental; it must be noted though that we will not allow water to be used for well injection.

Due to the investment of millions of dollars by the District and irrigators to improve the efficiency of transport and application of water to crops, the District has seen water volumes reduce while irrigated acreage increase.

Almost all the reservoirs within the SMRID system are used for recreational purposes, including boating and fishing. These include Stafford, Chin, Forty Mile, and Sauder (Rattlesnake) reservoirs that are popular recreation sites and have both public camping and boat launch facilities.

Find out more about Southern Alberta Irrigation history. Watch video