The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected 100 projects totaling $9.38 million from the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) to implement on-farm water irrigation systems that reduce energy use resulting in greenhouse gas (GHGs) emission reductions and water savings.
SWEEP arises from emergency drought Legislation (SB 103) signed in early 2014 by Governor Brown. The SWEEP funding was reauthorized in 2015 under AB 91, which authorizes CDFA to distribute up to $10 million directly to agriculture operations for eligible projects. SWEEP is funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and is administered in cooperation with Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board.
“It is critical to support our farmers and the diverse food supply we have in California, especially during this historic drought” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am pleased to see this program continue and be in high demand, as is evident from being oversubscribed by 300 percent.”
The 100 selected projects will leverage an additional $4.6 million in private cost-share dollars. The funding will support GHG emission reductions through projects that include water-efficiency modifications like drip and microsprinkler systems, energy-efficient water pumps, soil moisture sensors, and irrigation scheduling programs that apply water based on crop needs.
The SWEEP grants announced in 2014 allocated $8.4 million, with another $5.8 million in matching funds, for 133 different projects that reduced greenhouse gases and saved water. The program is implemented under the CDFA Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation, which obtains its authority for such incentive programs through the Environmental Farming Act of 1995. The Act mandates the Department to establish and oversee an Environmental Farming Program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystem and air quality.
California continues to operate under the drought state of emergency declared by Governor Brown. To date, hundreds of millions of dollars in drought assistance and bond have been committed to emergency food, housing, and utility assistance; emergency water supplies; and water conservation and infrastructure projects across California – with much more on the way. Californians are also responding with unprecedented conservation efforts, even exceeding the Governor’s order to reduce water usage by 25 percent. Meanwhile, California is moving forward with historic legislation enacted last year to empower local agencies to bring groundwater basins into sustainable patterns of pumping and recharge. These are just of a few examples of the hundreds of coordinated actions the Administration is taking to address the impacts of California’s drought. For more, visit www.drought.ca.gov