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SACRAMENTO, October 19, 2017 –The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) have announced the recipients of a joint water efficiency grant. The North San Joaquin Water Conservation District and 19 farm operations within the district will receive $4.6 million to improve water delivery and on-farm water efficiency.
The improvements will bring surface water supplies to farms that currently depend exclusively on groundwater for irrigation, helping to ease demands on critically overdrafted basins in the region. Growers can also use grant funds to adopt water conservation technologies such as drip irrigation, moisture sensors and weather stations to reduce water use.
“It is essential that we think about water distribution at irrigation districts as well as on the farm,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This grant is a smart investment in improving our water-use efficiency and managing our groundwater basins for future droughts. Our thanks to the Department of Water Resources for joining us in this critically important program.”
The grant combines dollars from Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond measure approved by California voters in 2014, and the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), a CDFA program that provides financial assistance for California farms to save water and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“This investment will return dividends in a more sustainable groundwater future for California,” said Department of Water Resources Director Grant Davis. “These grants provide opportunities for communities to become more water efficient and at the same time, assist in efforts to improve the sustainability of California’s groundwater resources.”
The joint award given by DWR and CDFA is a pilot project to maximize environmental and production benefits. In order to receive funding, successful applicants designed projects that met specific requirements – including cost, feasibility, water savings and GHG reductions.
The cooperative project is expected to result in water savings of over 553 million gallons and GHG reductions of 97 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. Other expected benefits include greater energy efficiency and improved nutrient management.
A list of the selected agricultural operations can be found at: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/JointPilotProgram.html