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Why a Southern Alberta First Nation turned off the tap to hundreds of area farmers – Global News

April 30, 2022

Troy Bischler started to panic. The Granum, Alta., area farmer was in the middle of calving season with 180 cow-calf pairs and he was running out of water.

“We maybe have a week left in the dugout. After that there is really no Plan B,” Bischler told Global News on April 27. “Either that water comes down the canal and starts filling the dugout, or I don’t know. We cannot move these cattle halfway through calving season to another water source. It will not work.”

Bischler farms in a part of Southern Alberta that doesn’t get a lot of rain. Agriculture operations supporting more than 200,000 acres of land and 750,000 head of cattle rely on irrigation supplied by the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District. The water is diverted from the Old Man River through a canal gate on the Piikani Nation Reserve.

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