CDFA Releases Draft Request for Grant Applications for SWEEP
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released the Draft Request for Grant Applications (RGA) for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) with the application period likely opening October 2021. CDFA expects to review and award applications from October 2021 through January 2022. The maximum grant award is $200,000.
What is SWEEP? Through 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 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. Weather, Soil, or Plant Based Sensors for Irrigation Scheduling
- Examples include the use of soil moisture or plant sensors (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) 449 may apply) with electronic data output, the use of weather station(s) linked to an 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, provide sufficient documentation to show that water deliveries can be made on a consistent basis to accommodate that scheduling.
2. Irrigation System Changes
- Examples include the conversion to a more water efficient irrigation method or improvement of existing method to conserve water.
- Project designs should follow NRCS CPS 441, 442, 443 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 groundwater recharge when surface water is available for recharge.
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
1. Fuel Conversion
- Examples include pump fuel conversion resulting in reduction of GHG emissions such as replacing a diesel pump with an electric pump and/or the installation of renewable energy.
- Renewable energy that is used to power irrigation systems are eligible for SWEEP funding and can further reduce GHG emissions.
2. Improved Energy Efficiency of Pumps and the Addition of Variable Frequency Drives
- Examples include retrofitting or replacing pumps or the addition of variable frequency drives to reduce energy use and match pump flow to load requirements.
- NRCS CPS 372 or 533 may apply.
3. Low Pressure Systems
- For example, the conversion of a high-pressure sprinkler system to a low-pressure micro-irrigation system or lower pressure sprinkler system to reduce pumping and energy use.
- Project designs should follow NRCS CPS 441 or 442 specifications.
4. Reduced Pumping through Water Savings Strategies
- For example, improved irrigation scheduling may lead to reduced pump operation times.
Other Management Practices
CDFA supports innovative projects and recognizes there is variability in irrigation systems throughout California. For this reason, applicants may propose project components that do not fit into the above project types as long as water savings can be estimated and GHG reductions can be quantified using the GHG Quantification Methodology.
What costs are eligible for the program? Project costs must be itemized and clearly support installation or improvement of irrigation systems, including supplies, equipment, labor, and any other allowable cost necessary for project implementation. Examples of allowable costs include: installation of photovoltaic panels to power irrigation systems; all components of irrigation systems; sensor hardware and telemetry; software associated with sensors and weather stations; flow meters; and permits.
What is the project duration? The maximum project duration is two years. The anticipated project start date is August 1, 2022.
What is the funding level for SWEEP? The maximum grant award is $200,000. SWEEP will disperse up to $36 million to California agricultural operations investing in irrigation systems that reduce GHG emissions and save water.
Is cost share required? Cost share is optional.
When is the deadline? While the deadline has not yet been published, it is expected that applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis beginning in October with a final deadline in January 2022.
The full 2022 Draft 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.