slider slider slider slider slider

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

When will the water be turned on? Shut off?
Does the BRID have limits on water use?
Can the general public drive on the canal banks?
Is hunting allowed on BRID canals and reservoirs?

Questions about Magnicide H

Does the BRID use chemical for aquatic weed control?
Does Magnacide H affect crops or other plants?
Does it affect livestock or wildlife?
Will Magnacide H affect people?

Questions about Irrigation Acres

Are new irrigation acres available?
Can irrigators within the BRID sell or rent their irrigation acres?
What happens if an irrigator is irrigating more acres than on the assessment roll for a parcel?
What is the difference between a water licence and irrigation acres?
What are the different types of irrigation authorizations in the BRID?



General Questions

When will the water be turned on? Shut off?
The start of irrigation is based on demand and weather. Since 1974 the average start up date has been May 8 with an average shut off date of October 11. The earliest start has been April 21 (1992) and the latest June 5 (1975). The earliest shut off date has been October 3 (1994) and the latest October 21 (1974). With dry, warm conditions expect an earlier start up and later start up with wet, cool conditions.

Does the BRID have limits on water use?
In addition to irrigation acres, the District has various other water users who the District delivers water to. The 2008 limit for water use by irrigators is set at 24 acre inches per irrigation acre, which is simply stated as 24 inches per acre.

Any parcels irrigated by the flood method are allowed up to 25% more, but the irrigator must pay a surcharge for this additional amount.

All other water users are limited by the amount stated in their particular conveyance agreement with the BRID.

Can the general public drive on the canal banks?
The District has seen an increase in the use of canal banks and roadways by the general public, oil/gas traffic and adjoining landowners, which has resulted in an increase to maintenance costs.

Although this use is not prohibited, non-BRID use is limited to light vehicles and only when the canal bank and/or roadway is dry.
Any damage or rutting of the canal banks or roadways will result in the offender being charged for the repair.

Any additional costs in maintenance to the BRID are a direct cost to all irrigators of the District through annual water rates. The BRID has a responsibility to collect the cost of repairing damages from the offenders.

Is hunting allowed on BRID canals and reservoirs?
The BRID does not restrict hunting on the canals and reservoirs but all hunters are asked to respect the rights of adjoining landowners and to limit this activity if the adjoining landowner does object.

Access is limited to light vehicle travel and only when areas are dry. Damages will be the responsibility of those causing the damage.

Hunting on BRID lease land is allowed subject to consent from the occupant or leaseholder. Hunters are asked to only travel on well established roads or trails, and to only travel on those if they are dry.


Questions about Magnicide H

Does the BRID use chemical for aquatic weed control?
The District uses an aquatic herbicide called "Magnacide H" to control aquatic weeds and algae in most cases. Magnacide H is licensed in Canada for use in irrigation canals. It is applied in Alberta under permits from Alberta Environment, by District staff that are specially trained and licensed by Alberta Environment.

Magnacide H has been used throughout the world since 1959 and has been in use in the District since 1969. It's active ingredient is acrolein which is a naturally occurring compound. Magnacide H is injected under water for a period of 90 minutes. This forms a 90 minute "wave" of treated water which moves downstream much like a piston in a cylinder. The Magnacide H "wave" contacts the weeds, killing the submerged leaves and stems. Because Magnacide H degrades fairly quickly in water (8 to 25 hours) its strength will only remain high enough to control weeds in about four miles of canal. Some canals may have to be treated more than once in a season due to regrowth.

Does Magnacide H affect crops or other plants?
Water treated with Magnacide H is safe for crop irrigation and will not produce crop contamination with respect to human consumption. Magnacide H affects only aquatic vegetation which grows beneath the surface of the water. Plants which emerge from the surface (such as cattails and bulrushes), and plants growing on the canal banks (such as trees, brush, broadleaf plants and grasses) are not affected by Magnacide H.

Does it affect livestock or wildlife?
Tests indicate that there are no short or long term harmful effects to animals resulting from exposure to water treated with Magnacide H. Animals often refuse to drink treated water because it is unpalatable. Magnacide H is not permitted to enter ponds used to water livestock.

Will Magnacide H affect people?
When used correctly, Magnacide H will not be hazardous to people using the canal. Because Magnacide H is injected underwater from equipment that is sealed from the air, applicators and others on the canal bank do not come into contact with harmful quantities. District staff ensure that Magnacide H treated water does not enter drinking water supplies. As a precaution, swimming should not be allowed downstream when Magnacide applications are taking place.


Questions about Irrigation Acres

Are new irrigation acres available?
The current limit for the size of the BRID is 260,000 irrigation acres which is referred to as "the expansion limit". The BRID has expanded in recent years but is basically at this expansion limit. As of June 2016, there are no new irrigation acres available.

Can irrigators within the BRID sell or rent their irrigation acres?
Yes, irrigation acres may be transferred or sold from one parcel to another and/or from one irrigator to another. All BRID policies regarding the transfer of irrigation acres would have to be satisfied, but this provides the only opportunity for irrigators to purchase additional acres if not available from the District. With Board approval, unused irrigation acres may be used to develop dryland parcels.

Renting of irrigation acres is officially called "Alternate Parcel Irrigation Agreements" and if an irrigator wishes to irrigate more acres on a parcel than the assessment, or wishes to irrigate a dryland parcel or a portion of a dryland parcel, they can apply to enter into an Alternate Parcel Irrigation Agreement. This agreement allows the use of idle irrigation acres from one parcel on another parcel, on a yearly basis. The parcels do not have to be owned by the same person or persons. In addition, if an irrigator is irrigating a parcel in excess of the assessment, an Alternate Parcel Irrigation Agreement is one method of irrigating the additional acres which also provides additional water.

The BRID maintains lists of irrigators that have irrigation acres to rent or to sell, and of irrigators that are interested in purchasing or renting irrigation acres. This list is on the Public Notice webpage.

What happens if an irrigator is irrigating more acres than on the assessment roll for a parcel?
The Board of Directors have placed an over irrigation penalty of $109.00 per acre plus the annual water rate on parcels being over irrigated.

There are situations where irrigators are over irrigating on one of their parcels while under irrigating on another parcel with their net irrigation being under or within their assessed irrigation acre total. This is no longer going to be acceptable and irrigators in this situation will be required to transfer irrigation acres or face over irrigation penalties on the over irrigated parcel.

What is the difference between a water licence and irrigation acres?
"Water licences and irrigation acres are two distinct different identities and are not interchangeable."

Water Licences: Water licences are issued to users by Alberta Environment through provisions in the Alberta Water Act. A water licence for irrigation purposes will allow a user to irrigate a specific parcel of land withdrawing water from a specific public water source. People irrigating off of a river or stream would have their own water licence. Provisions in the Water Act allows for the transfer or assignment of water licences from one party to another party and must go through an application and approval process with Alberta Environment. Water licences in Alberta are administered exclusively by Alberta Environment. The Bow River Irrigation District has water licences that allow the BRID to withdraw a specific amount of water and to use that water for purposes as specified in the actual licence. The current licences state the purposes to be irrigation and domestic use.

Irrigation Acres: With the water licences that the BRID holds, it can divert water from the Bow River and use that water for irrigation purposes. Individual parcels of land within the BRID are allowed to be irrigated on a specified number of acres which are referred to as "irrigation acres". This is governed under provisions in the Irrigation Districts Act of Alberta which is administered through Alberta Agriculture and Rural Devlopment. Water rights is an old term for irrigation acres. If someone uses the term water rights, they are meaning irrigation acres. Irrigation acres are a capital asset to a parcel and unless specific arrangements are made other wise, they are normally bought and sold with the parcel they are attached to. Irrigation acres are allowed to be transferred or assigned (alternate parcel agreement) to other properties but must be within the boundaries of the BRID through an application and approval process established by the BRID. Irrigation acres in the Bow River Irrigation District are administered exclusively by the BRID.

What are the different types of irrigation authorizations in the BRID?
1) Irrigation Acres: Irrigation Acres are permanently attached to a parcel of land. Each parcel of land with irrigation acres has a specified number of irrigation acres upon which the landowner is entitled to apply water to. Though each parcel of land with Irrigation Acres will have a notation on the back of the title noting the property to be included in the irrigation district, such notation does not ensure irrigation acres are present as parcels of land can be included in the irrigation district without irrigation acres. Irrigation Acres are subject to Rate Enforcement procedures in the event annual water charges are in arrears. Irrigation Acres are purchased from the district at a set capital asset charge based on a per acre charge. This is a one time purchase by the landowner; the 2009 capital asset charge for new Irrigation Acres was $300 per acre. Irrigation Acres, in accordance with Section 16 of the Irrigation Districts Act, can be transferred or sold to another landowner's parcel of land in the BRID subject to BRID approval, based on a number of criteria the district has set, and subject to all mortgages shown on the certificate of title for the parcel selling the Irrigation Acres, consenting to the transfer.

2) Terminable Agreements: Terminable Agreements are agreements between the BRID and a landowner or a renter which allows the landowner or renter to irrigate a specified amount of acres on a parcel of land. Terminable agreements are terminable at the option of either party, on the giving of notice before March 1st in a calendar year. Terminable Agreements are subject to Rate Enforcement procedures in the event annual water charges are in arrears. Terminable agreements in arrears of water payment are cancelled as of March 1st in any calendar year. Where agreements are cancelled, the applicant must reapply to the Board of Directors of the Bow River Irrigation District and the agreement may or may not be renewed. Terminable Agreements are with an applicant and not transferable with a land parcel; any purchaser buying land upon which a Terminable Agreement is present must make application to the Board of Directors of the Bow River Irrigation District for a new agreement which may or may not be approved.

3) Annual Agreements: Annual Agreements are between the BRID and a landowner or a renter which allows them to irrigate a specified amount of acres on a parcel of land and which expires at the end of each calendar year.

Annual Agreements are with an applicant and are not transferable with a land parcel; any purchaser buying land upon which an Annual Agreement is present must make application to the Board of Directors of the Bow River Irrigation District for a new agreement which may or may not be renewed. Annual Agreements are not subject to Rate Enforcement procedures.