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 the irrigation and its positive impacts to 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 65 comprising full time and part time employees in the field, our main office in Lethbridge and our other office in Bow Island. These staff are responsible for the engineering, operations and maintenance of the district and our office staff are responsible for all the administration that supports all of those activities.
We have three licenses to divert water from the St. Mary, Waterton and Belly rivers. The total volume of our allowable diversion is 722,000 ac. Ft. or about 890 million cubic meters; on average we only divert around 50% of our total licence. One of our licenses now allow not only water for irrigation as originally conceived 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 investment of millions of dollars by the district and irrigators to improve the efficiency of transport and application of water to crops, this district has seen diversion volumes reduce while irrigated acreage increase.
Almost all the reservoirs within the SMRID system are used for recreational purposes, including boating and fishing; amongst those are Sauder (rattlesnake), Forty Mile and Stafford reservoirs which are very heavily used and both have public camping and boat launch facilities.