Irrigation on the Southern Slope of the Cypress Hills

by John Gilpin

IrrigationIrrigation has been an important feature of the history of the Cypress Hills in general and the southern slopes of the Saskatchewan portion in particular. Lodge Creek and its tributary Middle Creek along with Battle Creek, the Frenchman River and Cypress Lake have all played a role. Cypress Lake which serves as the headwaters of the Frenchman River was originally filled by Oxarat and Sucker Creeks. Belanger and Davis Creeks were Frenchman River tributaries located immediate east of Cypress Lake. These rivers flow south ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico via the Milk, Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers.

The irrigation history of this area can be divided into three periods with the creation of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) in 1935 demarcating the transition from the first and second periods and the decision of the PFRA in 2007 to abandon certain roles in the area demarcating the transition to the current period.