The Saskatchewan government recently announced it would be making a $4 billion investment in expanding irrigation out of the Diefenbaker reservoir. As John Pomeroy, head of the Global Water Futures project at the University of Saskatchewan, said in a recent interview, this project is “massive” and has significant implications for our approach and contribution to climate change as well as to Indigenous rights. This is a complicated project that promises to have significant environmental and social impacts, and we’ll no doubt we discussing these issues in detail for some time to come. But right now, to help provide some context, we are sharing a 2-part interview with Gary Carriere from 2018 that aired on our From the Ground Up radio show.
Gary is a resident of Cumberland House, a northern community that has long relied on the Saskatchewan River Delta, the largest inland river delta in North America. Gary grew up in Cumberland House and has also worked as a trapper and a researcher evaluating the delta ecosystem and how it has been affected by these types of projects in the past. Indeed, as Gary discusses with Hayley, residents of Cumberland House and all of those who rely on the delta have long been feeling the impacts of development, which has greatly affected northern economies and ways of life. This interview provides some context for the far-reaching impacts that these types of projects can have, and the experience and expertise of someone like Gary should be at the forefront of any conversations about projects that will affect the delta. You can find parts 1 and 2 of the interview below: