Irrigation has been used in the latter area since the late 19th century.
Yet the amount of water available for irrigation itself is limited by the water flow in the South Saskatchewan River basin.
Yet the most important factors in determining both temperatures and precipitation are the height and width of the Rocky Mountains, and the direction of the prevailing winds.
The mountain ranges intercept air moving in from the Pacific and drain it of moisture.
The parkland region predominates in central Alberta, forming a crescent to the west and north of the Prairie region and including most of the North Saskatchewan River drainage basin.
Low annual precipitation, high evaporation rates and fast runoff produce chronic water deficits in southern Alberta, varying from a moderate deficiency in the parkland region to a severe shortage in the short-grass prairie area.
Legislative power is vested in an 87-member, single-chamber, elected legislative assembly as well as a lieutenant-governor, appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and who acts as the Crown’s representative.
Alberta is home to two international airports, located in Calgary and Edmonton.
Physiography, climate, soil and vegetation combine to create four biophysical regions within Alberta.
The Prairie region includes most of southern Alberta, more precisely the land south and east of an arc stretching from Waterton in the southwest corner to a point along the Saskatchewan border east of Red Deer.
Alberta, the westernmost of Canada's three Prairie provinces, shares many physical features with its neighbours to the east, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Rocky Mountains form the southern portion of Alberta's western boundary with British Columbia.