An economic study of the Val Marie irrigation project
Wiens, Jacob Kornelius
The earliest irrigation projects in Western Canada were undertaken by individuals who appropriated water, and sometimes land, without title or license. However, most of the early irrigation development, mainly in the Province of Alberta, was organized under joint stock companies who undertook the operation as commercial ventures. The first company of this type was the Canadian Northwest Irrigation Company, financed by British capital. This Company took over a large block of land in the Lethbridge area from the Canadian Pacific Railway and agreed to pay $2.00 per acre for the land. Subsequently the railway and land interests of this Company were consolidated under the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company and the Canadian Pacific Railway bought control of this Company in 1912. Construction on the second major irrigation enterprise was started in 1904 by the C.P.R. in the area between Calgary and Medicine Hat. The third corporate undertaking was the Canada Land and Irrigation Company. This Company was to supply water to 200,000 acres in the area west and north of Medicine Hat. The Company was financed with British capital and construction was carried out in the 1909 to 1912 period.