About this Conservation Program

What is the Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program?

Washington’s Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program is a water savings program that works with Washington’s agricultural irrigators and water purveyors. The State Conservation Commission (SCC) works with conservation districts to provide financial incentives to irrigators and water purveyors willing to install efficient irrigation systems that save water. The program works to restore instream flows, reduce demand on aquifers, mitigate for drought vulnerability, enhance water quality, retime water availability, and increase of-farm productivity.


The Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program (IEGP) has been saving water for people, farms, and fish, since 2002. The program was created during the legislative session in 2001. It made funding available for conservation districts to conserve irrigation water through efficiency upgrades to conveyance systems(ditches) and application systems (flood/furrow/sprinkler). Water rights associated with the water savings were transferred to the state’s Trust Water Rights Program for instream flows only. The saved water was to stay instream for the benefit of salmonids listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The target area of priority was identified as the 16 Salmon Critical Basins as designated in the 1999 Washington Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon.

Through adaptive management and additional water resource concerns, the target area expanded to include other water short basins until 2021. This program was funded by a legislative appropriation to the Department of Ecology’s Water Resource Section and contracted through an interagency agreement to the Commission. Last biennium, the appropriation came directly to the Commission with the inherited proviso language focused on instream flow enhancement only. This biennium, the Commission revised its proviso language in order to address other water resource issues.

Since its inception, participating conservation districts have included: Asotin County, Cascadia (Chelan County), Clallam, Columbia, Kittitas County, North Yakima, Okanogan, Pomeroy (Garfield County), South Yakima, Underwood, Walla Walla County, and Whatcom.

How it works

Grants issued through the IEGP fund conservation district technicians who provide direct assistance to irrigators and water purveyors by assessing water savings projects along with the design, development, and administration of each project. Technicians also write irrigation water management plans for project recipients to ensure wise management of the new practices. Monitoring is also a key element to ensuring success.


Contact your conservation district for questions about eligibility. Projects located in areas where water availability is a high-priority natural resource concern. Projects must save water in consideration of:

  • instream flow protection or enhancement
  • water quality protection or enhancement
  • mitigation of a drought vulnerability
  • improving productivity or profitability on lands under threat of conversion to non-agricultural uses
  • flow and/or water supply retiming

Conveyance/Purveyor projects require water savings to be eligible for protection in the State’s Trust Water Rights Program (TWR). On a case-by-case basis, the Program Manager may require a transfer of saved water to the TWR when management of the saved water by the state is necessary to create or preserve the public benefit created by the project. For more information on eligibility, contact your conservation district. Not sure which district you live in? Find your local conservation district here.

Check out the informational webinar about IEGP funding!

Files & Publications

Check out the files and publications related to the Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program.

File Name


Funding is open! Check out this informational webinar for questions or contact Jon Culp.

Success Stories from this Grant Program

Benton Conservation District

Benton Conservation District: Conserving Water in the Columbia Basin

Many farmers want to conserve water, but it can be difficult, risky, and expensive. That's where conservation districts come in. They assist people, like Nestor Garcia from Blue Gem Farms, with making changes that work on-farm and benefit water quality and quantity.

Full Story
Clark Conservation District

Clark Conservation District: Empowering urban/small acreage farms

Hosts from Washington Grown visit April Joy Farm to learn how Clark Conservation District provides services that help conserve natural resources and keep the farm viable amid rapid development pressure.

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North Yakima Conservation District

North Yakima Conservation District: Ahtanum Creek and viable farmland

North Yakima Conservation District works with landowners and ranchers to formulate effective, voluntary solutions to help stabilize Ahtanum Creek, as well as keep farmland viable.

Full Story