19760203100 | Floodwaters irrigating a crop, AB, 1945-1955

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Floodwaters irrigating a crop, AB, 1945-1955
Between 1945 and 1955, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
25.4 x 20.5 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
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Keys to History

In his book Quenching the Prairie Thirst, John Gilpin concludes his explanation of the irrigation agreement between the Government of Canada and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as follows: "Upon the establishment of 50 families in each hamlet, settlers were to be permitted to take water from the canal for a fee of $2 per acre per year. The settlers were permitted to work on irrigation works or railway construction to pay their water rates. The future management of the system was covered in the provision that the main canal was to be the responsibility of the parties using water in proportion to their interests. The company thus envisaged a system which would to a large extent, be run by the water users themselves. To aid in the travel of settlers to the area, the company agreed to advance railway fares for families from Utah as long as the distance traveled did not exceed the distance from Salt Lake City to Lethbridge. The advance was to be deducted from the payments made for canal construction."

  • What

    Flood irrigation is an ancient technique, and the first method used to bring water to southwestern Alberta. It did have one important limitation - gravity.

  • Where

    The first pivot sprinkler irrigation system was installed on the Campbell Brothers' farm east of Burdett, Alberta, in May 1962. This system and subsequent refinements represent the current level of irrigation technology.

  • When

    It wasn't until 1948 that the first two hand-move sprinkler systems were introduced to southern Alberta. These systems allowed farmers to irrigate on rough land and apply water from a low point to a high point.

  • Who

    This photograph shows an unidentified man using floodwater to irrigate a field.