Alberta Irrigation Projects Association
Ron McMullin has enjoyed serving agriculture for over 20 years of his career. As Executive Director of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association, Ron is working to strengthen Alberta’s irrigation community and ensure Alberta’s water resources are wisely used to grow food, provide drinking water, foster industry, and enliven water-based ecosystems and recreation.
For his Master’s thesis study, Ron documented the quantity and quality of irrigation return flow waters returning to the Bow and Oldman Rivers from parts of the Bow River Irrigation District. As an irrigation specialist with Alberta Agriculture in Vauxhall, Ron helped the area’s irrigators with on-farm engineering and agronomics as the producers developed their irrigation systems and managed water for optimum crop production. He also conducted water, soil and engineering studies on proposed private irrigation systems as part of the water licensing process. With an applied research section of Alberta Agriculture in Lethbridge, Ron focussed on discovering causes and finding solutions to soil and water salinity problems faced by local farmers.
Ron joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Centre, and through the media, tours, television features and trade shows he shared new technologies and information with farm producers and the public. Ron also assisted the Alberta Farm Safety Centre, as part of a Health Canada push to decrease injuries on farms. In partnership with the Lethbridge College, Ron created short courses, fact sheets, and posters to heighten awareness of hazards on farms and develop first-responder skills in farm families. Working with The Alberta Research Council in Edmonton and then as a private consultant, Ron established research partnerships and assisted in bringing in over $6 million dollars in research funding to the organization. He was charged with water-related business and program development while working at the Research Council.
“Irrigation is such an important part of the fabric of southern Alberta,” says Ron, “and of my life. I live in a rural community where I drink water supplied by an irrigation reservoir, I fish in the irrigation system, I take my family picnicking at several parks on reservoirs, many of my friends and acquaintances make their living on irrigated farms. Irrigation has a great story to tell, one of growing food, creating wildlife habitat, supplying water to communities, providing recreational opportunities, and creating many thousands of jobs for Albertans. I’m glad to be part of that and have the opportunity to ensure proactive water management that makes Alberta a great place to live.”