Washington’s Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program (IEGP) restores instream flows in rivers and streams determined to not have enough water for fish populations and other competing needs. The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) works with conservation districts to provide financial incentives – up to 85 percent of total project costs – to landowners willing to install irrigation systems that save water. The water saved helps increase the stream flow in tributaries where ESA (Endangered Species Act)-listed species will benefit. And, in most cases, the more efficient irrigation systems lead to increased crop production due to reduced water stress.
As of 2015, 62 projects have been completed through the IEGP, saving nearly 16,000 acre feet of water and 66 cubic feet per second of flow back into 23 tributaries.
The IEGP was created in 2001 out of a desire by private landowners and environmental groups to cooperatively restore instream flows for endangered salmonid populations within the state’s 16 critical basins. Conservation districts within those basins were identified as the most effective method for delivering this complex program. Since its inception, participating conservation districts have included: Asotin County, Cascadia (Chelan County), Clallam, Columbia, Kittitas County, North Yakima, Okanogan, Pomeroy (Garfield County), South Yakima, and Walla Walla County. Read more in the 2008 Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program annual report
How it Works
Grants issued through the IEGP fund conservation district technicians who provide assistance to landowners and water purveyors by assessing potential water savings projects along with the design, development, and administration of each project. Technicians also write irrigation water management plans for project recipients to ensure wise management of the new practices. Monitoring is also a key element to ensuring success.
View this form to learn more about project eligibility guidelines. Once projects are developed and determined eligible, the landowner may apply to the conservation district for financial assistance for project implementation. Each project must have valid water rights and produce a biological improvement to the stream benefiting salmon.
Water Resources Program Manager