Reclamation in Partnership with Natural Resources Conservation Service Announces $6.3 Million to Fund Projects for Improved Agricultural Water Use Efficiencies in Drought-Stricken California

Media Contact: Shana Kaplan, 916-978-5100

For Release: June 05, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today the recipients of $6.3 million in Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency grants as part of a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Reclamation/NRCS partnership projects funded in Fiscal Year 2014 will help communities build resilience to drought, including modernizing their water infrastructure and efficiently using scarce water resources, while supporting the agricultural economy. The joint program promotes district-level water conservation improvements that facilitate on-farm water use efficiency and conservation projects.

One of the worst droughts in decades prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to issue an emergency drought proclamation on Jan. 17. In order to provide flexibility for local and state water managers, the Obama Administration is committed to coordinated federal actions and investments to provide assistance where it is needed most.

These grant awards follow the May 6 White House release of the Third National Climate Assessment, which provides details on how climate change already is affecting every region of the United States—making innovative solutions that improve water delivery systems and water use efficiency essential in carrying out the President’s Climate Action Plan.

“The situation in California is critical and requires a swift and effective response at all levels of government,” said Regional Director David Murillo. “This funding will help our partners focus their resources and creativity to meet the ongoing challenges brought upon by drought across the State.”

Since 2011, Reclamation and NRCS have provided $20.7 million in grant assistance through the CALFED, NRCS and WaterSMART Grant Programs to water districts and growers for agricultural water use efficiency improvement/management projects. With the addition in Fiscal Year 2014 of $6.3 million from Reclamation and additional financial assistance provided by NRCS, the federal cost share will provide up to $34 million for water conservation projects totaling over $133 million. Completed projects will result in approximately 167,000 acre-feet of water conserved annually.

“Reclamation, NRCS, water districts and farmers have a proven track record of doing together what none of us can completely do on our own: steward California’s water resources to make every drop count. Our intention is to provide at least as much funding to farmers in 2015 as our partners at Reclamation are making available to water districts today—and more if we are able,” said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez.

With NRCS support, Reclamation selected eight projects for funding. Combined with local cost-share contributions, more than $36 million in water management improvement projects will be implemented during the next 24 months. When completed, these projects will yield over 35,000 acre-feet of water savings annually.


Once Reclamation and the water and irrigation districts have signed agreements and developed working plans, NRCS will announce an application period to provide complementary funding and technical assistance to eligible growers who receive water from the eight districts selected for funding today. The resulting projects will leverage funding from Reclamation and NRCS to accomplish coordinated improvements that address both delivery system efficiency and on-farm water conservation measures.

The following is a summary of the selected projects:

Arvin-Edison Water Storage District – Water Conservation and Efficiency Project
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000                                                     Total Project Cost: $2,000,000
Arvin-Edison Water Storage District’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Project will include the Pilot In-lieu Project, which includes construction of a pipeline network to and from the district’s South Canal to (1) provide surface water supply during supplemental/ample water years to landowners who normally pump groundwater to meet crop demand, and (2) plumb landowner wells to the district for increased extraction capability during deficit water supply years. As part of the district’s project, steps will also be taken to modernize and make capacity improvements to the district’s Sycamore Check Structure and improve water management for the south half of the district as well as provide long-term water supply benefits to the district into the future. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 14,203 acre-feet.

Buena Vista Water Storage District – Northern Area Pipeline Project
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000                                                     Total Project Cost: $10,262,843
The proposed project is designed to improve over-all District water use efficiency by (1) converting 9,845 acres of farmland currently served by an unlined canal to a pipeline to eliminate canal losses, and (2) by developing a year-round irrigation system, which would eliminate much groundwater pumping. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 4,737 acre-feet annually.

Cawelo Water District – Calloway Canal Lining Project: Reach C2
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000                                                     Total Project Cost: $2,006,179
The project proposes to concrete line 2,900 linear feet of the currently unlined Calloway Canal, a portion designed Reach C2. Lining Reach C2 will decrease seepage losses on the order of 11 acre-feet per day - mile. Reach C2 lies outside the service area of both Cawelo and North Kern, overlying a portion of regional groundwater basin that is lesser quality due to past industrial practices in the area. As such, reducing seepage losses in this reach will reduce the amount of water that mixes with the lesser quality groundwater, considered irrecoverable losses since the water cannot be pumped for later use without a substantial treatment process. Reducing losses will also improve water conveyance for these districts, making sure water is delivered to its intended destination, and increase the capability of the districts to deliver more State-supplied surface water. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 581 acre-feet annually.

Central California Irrigation District - CCID Oil Station System Improvements
Reclamation Funding: $418,500                                                        Total Project Cost: $850,000
The Oil Station system is a combined pipeline and unlined ditch system with inadequate capacity to meet its delivery needs and inhibits the conversion to high-efficiency irrigation systems within its service area. The proposed project will install a combination PVC pipe and concrete-lined canal and a mid-system reservoir, replacing the westerly half of the Oil Station system with new facilities. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 1,055 acre-feet annually.

Firebaugh Canal Water District - Firebaugh CWD 2nd Lift Lining Project Phase 4; Washoe Avenue to Douglas Avenue
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000                                                     Total Project Cost: $2,189,500
The proposed project will replace about 2.6 miles of an existing earthen channel with a concrete-lined canal and upgrade the flow-control capabilities and metering of a primary pump station. The existing channel is a primary lift canal for Firebaugh Canal Water District with a capacity of 120 cubic feet per second for this reach of the canal. Because the canal is unlined, it loses about 336 acre-feet per year through seepage. This lost water is not only unavailable for irrigation uses but also contributes to the discharge of saline subsurface drain water to the San Joaquin River system. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 336 acre-feet annually.


Los Carneros Water District - Recycled Waterline Infrastructure Installation Project
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000                                                     Total Project Cost: $17,015,000
The project proposes to construct a 9-mile recycled water distribution system that will convey recycled water supplied by the Napa Sanitation District to local vineyards and agriculture. Currently, no water infrastructure exists. The proposed pipeline network will be located within existing roadways and will not require any new pump stations or storage facilities as these will be provided within NSD’s existing facilities. Upon completion, the LCWD Recycled Water Project will provide a much-needed sustainable irrigation supply to the high-value and high-profile agricultural sector of Napa Valley. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 1,465 acre-feet annually.

North Kern Water Storage District - Calloway Canal Lining Project: Reach D
Reclamation Funding: $609,500                                                        Total Project Cost: $1,219,000
The proposed project involves concrete lining of 1,490 linear feet of the currently unlined Calloway Canal. Reach D lies outside the service areas of both North Kern and Cawelo and overlies a portion of the regional groundwater basin that is of diminished quality due to past land uses, particularly industrial and petrochemical seepage on the northern end of the city of Bakersfield. Minimizing seepage from the Calloway Canal will reduce the irrecoverable losses that result when high-quality surface water seeps to poor-quality groundwater and the degraded seepage cannot be recovered for later use without substantial treatment. Reducing losses will also enhance the districts’ capability to deliver increased volumes of water from the State Water Project to irrigators. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 296 acre-feet annually.

Solano Irrigation District - Sweeney/McCune Creek Outflow Recovery and Automation Project
Reclamation Funding: $360,000                                                        Total Project Cost: $800,000
The project will construct two long-crested weirs, one each on Sweeney Creek and McCune Creek, at their confluence. The construction of the weirs and installation of automated discharge gates will allow for the recovery of surface water outflow for redistribution within the district’s boundaries. The proposed project is estimated to achieve water savings of 12,360 acre-feet annually.

For more information on the Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency Grant Program, please contact Gene Lee at 916-978-5219 or (TTY 1-800-877-8339).

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