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B.C. strengthens agricultural drought preparedness

March 26, 2024  By Government of British Columbia

Hundreds of B.C. farmers will be better equipped to deal with drought thanks to supports to help manage, collect and store water for crops and livestock.

“Last year, our province faced an unprecedented lack of rain, and this winter we’re seeing snow levels are at remarkable lows, meaning next summer might be even worse. Climate change – and drought in particular – makes it tough to secure water for animals, crops and feed, and it makes food more expensive for everyone,” said Premier David Eby in a press release. “This money will help build water storage and buy the equipment farmers tell us they need to keep providing the food we all depend on.”

B.C. farmers will be able to access an additional $80 million in funding through the Agricultural Water Infrastructure Program to make irrigation more efficient, or to build infrastructure to improve water availability and storage. These actions will benefit stream flows, fish populations and support more sustainable food production.


“Climate change is impacting both water and food security for people in British Columbia, making it challenging for farmers’ livelihoods and affecting local food systems,” said Pam Alexis, minister of agriculture and food, in a press release. “This is why we’re providing enhanced support to improve on-farm and community water infrastructure so we can grow more food and ensure proper water management during potential floods and drought.”

Launched in June 2023 with an initial $20-million fund, the program is funding 108 projects ranging from water storage, such as agricultural dams and dugouts, to improved water-supply systems for irrigation and livestock. It’s expected the additional funding will benefit hundreds more farmers.

On the territory of the Lheidli T’enneh in Newlands, northeast of Prince George, Hope Farm Organics has been able to increase its water supply through the program, allowing them to grow more fruits and vegetables.

“With uncertain times in changing climate patterns and weather extremes, the Agriculture Water Infrastructure Program helped our vegetable and fruit farm become more resilient in the face of these extremes,” said Andrew Adams, owner of Hope Farm Organics, in a press release. “This resilience has given me the confidence to continue developing and expanding our crops into the future, which ultimately will help improve British Columbia’s food security and the sustainability of our farm. Water is life.”

The City of Delta received $2 million to help improve the efficiency of the local irrigation system. These enhancements will help ensure water keeps flowing to farmers in times of drought and reinforces food security for people in the region.

Another $3 million will go toward regional workshops that will provide demonstrations, education, best practices and tools for water and irrigation use specific to drought-affected communities. This is in addition to the Agricultural Water Management Workshops and Drought Management Engagement Sessions that government staff have been leading in close to 30 communities throughout the province over the past month and continuing in the weeks ahead.

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