Conservation Commission News

Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program draft guidelines available for review

Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program draft guidelines available for review

Please submit all comments by Monday, Sept. 11, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Draft Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program (IEGP) guidelines are now available for review and comment. To ensure an inclusive and collaborative process, we are inviting all districts and stakeholders to participate in a 45-day review period. This offers an excellent opportunity to contribute your thoughts and feedback on the draft guidelines so far. This modification of the IEGP is a response to conservation districts’ desire to expand the focus of this water savings program beyond instream flow enhancement for anadromous salmonids only.

View draft guidelines.

See how to review and send comments.

Proposed changes of note include the removal of the requirement for a transfer of “saved water” rights to the state Trust Water Rights program. Now Trust transfers will be on a project-by-project basis and only required if the transfer is necessary to create or maintain the public’s benefit in the project. The program will not have a cost share rate cap. The program would now fund low-cost system upgrades to existing irrigation systems (ex. handline nozzles, gaskets, timer valves, vfd’s). And the per project cost for on-farm projects is proposed at $100,000 cap.

Proposed activities that we could use additional comments on:

• Best Management Practices (BMPs)/activities that reduce demand or retime runoff in the uplands. These activities may stabilize base flows but don’t save water through irrigation efficiency.

• Best Management Practices (BMPs) that switch sources but don’t necessarily save water. Municipal supply switch to rainwater collection and use. Surface water to groundwater switch.

• We are checking into whether we can use Capital Budget funding to draft irrigation water management plans. If we cannot, would you recommend we pursue funding from the Operating Budget for future irrigated water management work? We are also asking about water banking operations for the same reason.

Questions? Please contact Water Resources Program Manager, Jon K. Culp.