The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) selected the recipients of funding support as part of the WaterSMART Initiative. NRCS selected 31 priority areas to receive a total of $13 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding. The funding support will assist producers to better coordinate with water agencies in making further improvements to water conservation efforts.
“Our farmers and ranchers are stepping up to the plate to partner with communities to gain efficiencies to better conserve our water supply,” NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton said in a press release. “Working with the WaterSMART Initiative allows us to make a bigger impact where it’s most needed.”
A total of eight projects have been selected for funding in California through the WaterSMART Initiative. The projects are to be developed in Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties. Nearly $2 million will be divided among the eight projects. Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District Area is the biggest recipient with $800,000 in funding support. The Pixley Irrigation District Area and the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District Area will receive $240,000 each. Tulare Irrigation District Area and Ivanhoe Irrigation District Area will each receive $200,000. The Buena Vista Water Storage District Area will receive $120,000. The North Kern Water Storage District Area and the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District Area will receive $75,000 each.
NRCS provides eligible EQIP applicants with additional resources and tools through the WaterSMART Initiative. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) collaborates with NRCS through the WaterSMART Initiative to better coordinate investments to improve water conservation and drought resilience. Alignment of the WaterSMART program and EQIP has been an ongoing process between BOR and NRCS. Investment coordination has been taking place since a 2011 pilot by California NRCS. The collaboration between agencies is a priority that is highlighted in the National Drought Resilience Partnership.