Irrigation Efficiences

Nearly 12,000 Acre-Feet of Water Conserved

The Washington State Conservation Commission reported this month that 11,977 acre-feet of water will be conserved each year thanks to 40 projects made possible by the Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program. Water savings will be managed in the Trust Water Rights Program for instream flows.

Through state-provided funding and technical assistance from local conservation districts, farmers in seven out of 16 designated drought-critical basins have voluntarily completed projects such as pivot sprinkler systems, drip irrigation systems, and piped conveyance systems, to achieve on-the-ground water conservation.

The water saved by these projects means more water for salmon streams in our state.

Program Manager Jon Culp said, “The participating conservation districts have created an extremely successful, locally-led solution for reducing the competition between irrigated agriculture and low stream flows for our precious water resources.”

A full report summarizing the accomplishments of the Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program is available: 2008 Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program annual report

2008 Report Released

The Washington State Conservation Commission has just released its 2008 report on its Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program. The IEGP is a partnered effort between the Commission, the Department of Ecology, conservation districts, and private landowners that uses public funds to enhance stream flows in 16 drought critical basins throughout the state.

The Conservation Commission and 47 conservation districts in the State are dedicated to conserving water to help offset low stream flow conditions. One of the most effective tools for accomplishing this is the Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program (IEGP). Under this program, private landowners partner with local conservation districts on voluntary projects that increase the efficiency of on-farm water application and conveyance delivery systems. The water saved is converted into beneficial instream flows in tributaries where ESA (Endangered Species Act) listed species will benefit.

The Washington State Conservation Commission administers the IEGP through an interagency partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology. The program began in 2001 as an appropriation that directed Ecology’s Water Resource Program “… to provide grants to conservation districts to assist the agricultural community to implement water conservation measures and irrigation efficiencies …” within 16 drought critical basins.

Read more in the full report: 2008 Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program annual report

Grants Program Summary 2007

The Irrigation Efficiencies Grants Program (IEGP) helps private landowners partner with local conservation districts to save water and aid in salmon recovery.

By implementing best management practices to increase the efficiency of on-farm water application and conveyance systems, the IEGP converts conservation water savings into beneficial instream flows in tributaries where listed salmonid species will benefit from more consistent and persistent water flows.

The IEGP is administered by the Washington State Conservation Commission through a contracted partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology. The program began in 2001 as an appropriation to Ecology that directed money to local conservation districts within 16 drainage basins identified as critically susceptible to drought.

Irrigation Efficiencies Grants in 2007
Landowners initiating plans/practices 83
Number of Best Management Practices implemented 17
Acres protected/enhanced/restored 1,515
Stream miles protected/enhanced/restored 23.4
Acre-feet/year of water saved 3,760
Total grant dollars spent by conservation districts $2,158,649
Total other funds leveraged by these grant funds $1,263,573

For more information, please contact Jon Culp.