CDFA Press Release #22-013 – CDFA WELCOMES PUBLIC COMMENTS ON A PILOT GRANT PROGRAM FOR IMPROVING IRRIGATION SYSTEMS IN THE SOUTHERN DESERT REGION

Version #22-013

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SACRAMENTO, February 17, 2022 – CDFA’s Office of Environmental Agriculture and Innovation (OEFI) is accepting public comments for its Draft Application for Grants (RGA) for a Pilot Efficiency and Improvement Program of State Water (SWEEP) for the Southern California desert region.

SWEEP was created in 2014 through emergency drought legislation to provide incentives to California farmers that reduce on-farm water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from irrigation and water pumping systems. Since its inception, SWEEP has awarded over 1,000 projects, but very few have been awarded in the Southern Desert region due to specific regional water and energy scenarios. Of the $50 million allocated to SWEEP in the 2021 Budget Act, the CDFA is allocating $2 million to the Southern California desert region. Through this proposed SWEEP pilot program, projects will focus on water conservation. They will be required to reduce the use of irrigation water on the farm and will have to demonstrate that GHG emissions from pumping irrigation water will not increase or be offset. All recipients of this pilot program will provide post-project water and energy records to the CDFA so that the projects’ GHG impact can be assessed in light of California’s climate change mitigation goals. .

In 2021, the Scientific Advisory Committee on the Environmental Farming Act of the CDFA convened a ad hoc advisory group (AAG) to make recommendations on improvements to the SWEEP program. One recommendation from the group was to consider a water-based incentive program for the Southern Desert region, where farmers had difficulty obtaining SWEEP funding.

We greatly appreciate the time and expertise that the members of the ad hoc advisory group contributed to the development of the recommendations, said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. The pilot program featured in RGA’s draft is intended to meet the specific needs of the Southern Desert, as AAG members have pointed out, and we look forward to feedback that can further shape the program.

California farmers, ranchers, and federally and California-recognized Native American tribes will be eligible to receive funding. Supported project components will include but are not limited to the use of weather, soil or plant sensors for irrigation scheduling, irrigation system changes, fuel conversion, installation of renewable energy, utility interconnections, modernization or replacement of pumps.

Stakeholders are encouraged to review the draft Application for Applications for the National Water Efficiency and Improvement Program Pilot Program on the SWEEP website (www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep) and submit comments by March 18, 2022, 5:00 p.m. PT to cdfa.oefi@cdfa.ca.gov.


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CDFA protects

California Department of Food and Agriculture Public Affairs Office

1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-654-0462, www.cdfa.ca.gov

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