CDFA is Accepting Applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - Due December 16, 2019

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) with applications due December 16, 2019. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $100,000 in grant funding as detailed below.

What is SWEEP? Through the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), CDFA provides grant funding directly to California agricultural operations to incentivize activities that reduce on-farm water use and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from irrigation and water pumping systems on California agriculture operations. The program’s objective is to provide financial incentives for California agricultural operations to invest in irrigation systems that save water and reduce GHG emissions.

Who is eligible to apply for this program? California farmers, ranchers and Federal and California recognized Native American Indian Tribes are eligible to apply.

What are eligible project types for SWEEP? CDFA has identified the following project types that address water conservation and GHG emission reductions. Applicants should consider incorporating several projects types listed below to achieve both water conservation and GHG emission reductions.

1. Water Savings

  • Weather, Soil, or Plant Based Sensors for Irrigation Scheduling: Examples include soil moisture or plant sensors (NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 449 may apply) with electronic data output, the use of electronic weather station(s) linked to irrigation controller to ensure efficient irrigation scheduling or the use of evapotranspiration (ET) based irrigation scheduling, such as the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) to optimize water use efficiency for crops. Telemetry components that allow the electronic communication between technology devices are eligible for funding through SWEEP. For use of ET based irrigation scheduling, documents sufficient to evidence water deliveries can be made on a consistent basis to accommodate that scheduling.
  • Micro-Irrigation or Drip Systems: The conversion to micro-irrigation or drip systems, including sub-surface drip systems from flood irrigation. Project designs should follow NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 441 specifications. The applicants currently utilizing surface water (e.g. canal or river water) to flood irrigate crops are encouraged to maintain flood irrigation infrastructure along with the proposed efficient micro/drip irrigation system(s) to facilitate ground water recharge when surface water is available for recharge.

2. Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions

  • Fuel Conversion: Pump fuel conversion resulting in reduction of GHG emissions (for example replacing a diesel pump with an electric pump). Renewable energy, including solar, installations that power irrigation systems are eligible for SWEEP funding and can further reduce GHG emissions.
  • Improved Energy Efficiency of Pumps: Examples include retrofitting or replacing pumps. NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 372 or 533 may apply.
  • Low Pressure Systems: Use of low pressure irrigation systems to reduce pumping and energy use. For example, the conversion of a high-pressure sprinkler system to a low pressure micro-irrigation system or lower pressure sprinkler system. Project designs should follow NRCS Conservation Practice Standards 441 or 442 specifications.
  • Variable Frequency Drives: Use of Variable Frequency Drives to reduce energy use and match pump flow to load requirements. Project designs should follow NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 533
  • Reduced Pumping: For example, improved irrigation scheduling may lead to reduced pump operation times.

3. Other Management Practices: CDFA supports innovative projects and recognizes there is variability in irrigation systems throughout California. For this reason, applicants may propose projects that do not fit into the above project types as long as water savings can be calculated and GHG reductions can be quantified using the GHG Quantification Methodology.

What is the project duration? The maximum project duration is eighteen months. Project activities cannot be conducted before June 15, 2020 or after December 15, 2021.

What is the funding level for SWEEP? The maximum grant award is $100,000. SWEEP will disperse approximately $7 million to California agricultural operations investing in irrigation systems that reduce GHG emissions and save water.

Are matching funds/in-kind contributions required? Matching funds and in-kind contributions are not required but are strongly encouraged. Applications that include cost share will receive additional consideration.

When is the deadline? Grant applications are due by 5:00pm PT on December 16, 2019.

The full Request for Grant Applicants (RGA) can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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