Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 , email@example.com
SACRAMENTO, February 6, 2023 - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce the projects selected for 2021 State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program Southern Desert Region Pilot (SWEEP) grant awards.
Seventeen agricultural operations located in parts of Riverside and Imperial counties have been selected to receive funding, totaling $2.7 million. These projects will improve crop irrigation systems, resulting in an estimated 48,500 acre-feet of water savings over the course of 10 years. The 2021 SWEEP Southern Desert Region list of selected projects is available online.
“We are proud to continue investing in water use efficiency in agriculture to help address our changing climate,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Farmers involved in this program are making positive on-farm changes to grow food with more efficient watering systems in an important agricultural region of the state.”
CDFA’s SWEEP team prepared a pilot solicitation targeted at agricultural areas located in in the southern desert region, a region defined as Imperial County and Riverside County, east of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. With guidance of CDFA’s Environmental Farming Act (EFA) Science Advisory Panel (SAP) and the SWEEP Ad Hoc Advisory Group, a $2 million portion of the 2021 SWEEP allocation ($50 M) was dedicated to projects located in the southern desert region, a region, which due to its unique water distribution and energy systems, has historically received low levels of funding from SWEEP. An additional $700,000 was remaining from the 2021 SWEEP solicitation and was combined with the $2M reserved for this targeted solicitation for the total $2.7M awarded.
Projects funded through this Pilot program must demonstrate water savings from proposed irrigation improvements but will not be required to reduce GHG emissions from irrigation pumping. Projects must not result in an increase in GHG emissions.
Fifty agricultural operations applied for funding through the 2021 SWEEP Southern Desert Region Pilot solicitation process. Applications were reviewed by a team of irrigation specialists from the University of California and California State University systems.
The program is part of CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI) (OEFI) Climate Smart Agriculture portfolio.