Kern County Farm Bureau Irrigation Efficiency Program Awarded $400,000 Grant from Bay-Delta Initiative

Taylor Hillman General

BDI grant will help local growers protect water quality, increase distribution uniformity on older performing irritation systems, reduce impacts to ground water and improve water management.

Recently, the Kern County Farm Bureau’s application for assistance with irrigation efficiency was awarded $400,000 from the Bay Delta Initiative. Most of the valley’s portion of Kern County is located within the BDI focus area as identified on the Bay Delta Initiative area map. The primary impacts to the Bay Delta related to agricultural activities in this area come from water allowances appropriated by federal and state water projects that draw their sources from the greater San Joaquin and Sacramento watersheds.

The goals of this project are to increase distribution uniformity on older performing irrigation systems through retrofitting existing irrigation systems to have them become more efficient on permanent cropland, reduce impacts to groundwater by increasing the use of nutrient management through budgeting and record keeping, improved water management through immediate and advanced monitoring and record keeping.
Specific project goals are:
1. Retrofitting existing irrigation systems – this will increase water savings
2. Encourage additional water savings through use of management practices
3. Improve total nutrient management to reduce nutrient overload
4. Improve sodic and salinity issues
5. Decrease runoff and erosion issues to alleviate sediment in surface waters
6. Increase wetland habitat restoration
7. Protect resident and migratory species of concern

We are confident that through programs like these, Kern County agriculture will continue to be one of the most efficient water users in Kern County while providing the nation with their food supply. Without an efficient water system for years to come, jobs and food are at a great risk. Water is the bloodline that drives the economy in the Central Valley and California. Our need for a successful water efficiency infrastructure is a priority for our growers, keeping California’s economy thriving.