DWR Awards Nearly $17 Million in LandFlex Grants

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Funding, Water

The Department of Water Resources has awarded nearly $17 million through its LandFlex Program. Three groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) will be receiving the funding through the second phase of the program. Overall, LandFlex grants support grower contracts within GSAs to protect rural at-risk water systems and make advancements in groundwater sustainability.

LandFlex Grants

Lower Tule River Irrigation District GSA received the most support from the grants issued, with $7.7 million being awarded. Pixley Irrigation District GSA was awarded $5 million, and Westside Water District GSA received $4 million. Westlands Water District General Manager Allison Febbo noted that eight farms in the local GSA were awarded LandFlex grants. A total of 45 eligible farmers submitted applications, “underscoring the importance of investment” in these types of programs, Febbo explained.

LandFlex grants will be used to support water conservation and climate-resilient agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. Additionally, the program incentivizes farmers to permanently reduce demand on aquifers and provides funding to transition to more sustainable practices. LandFlex was developed as a means of accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. President and Chief Executive Officer of the Almond Alliance, Aubrey Bettencourt noted the program’s strength is that it provides an avenue for farmers to voluntarily participate in sustainability efforts and be compensated for their efforts.

“The program was oversubscribed, and [growers’] active involvement showcases their determination to find immediate solutions rather than waiting until 2040 to achieve sustainability goals,” said Bettencourt. “By participating in LandFlex, these growers contribute significantly to the well-being of underserved communities and the long-term resilience of at-risk water systems while investing in new farming practices to ensure California agriculture is leading and vibrant for the 21st century.”

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West