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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)

The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality.

As part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), AWEP operates through program contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements. The intent of AWEP is for the Federal government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and resources of other eligible partners.

On June 14, 2009, the NRCS approved KRCD as one of the 64 eligible partners nationwide to enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation. Also partnering in the cooperation and collaboration with the District is the Kings River Water Association.

The project funding area for the program totaled $14 million over a 5-year period. Beginning in 2009, 139 contracts covering over 8,648 acres were awarded within the Kings River Service Area and they were as follows:

Project Year No. of Grower Contracts Acres Treated Amount Requested Amount Awarded
2010 53 3268 $2,500,000 $2,094,370
2011 61 3070 $3,500,000 $2,788,777
2012 62 2122 $3,500,000 $1,486,400

To date all contracts awarded were for the conversion from flood irrigation to micro-sprinkler/drip irrigation systems. Because of the predominate use of groundwater in the some areas of the region, staff encourage growers that if awarded funding for drip/micro irrigations that existing flood irrigation piping systems remain in place. This would allow for the grower to continue convey non-demand irrigation flows (floodwaters) on their land for the purpose of groundwater recharge/banking or in lieu irrigation, thus relieving the stress on the local groundwater aquifer.

When and How to Apply

Each fiscal year, NRCS may make AWEP financial and technical assistance available to eligible owners and operators of agricultural lands who participate in approved AWEP project areas. After the Chief of the NRCS has announced approved AWEP project areas, eligible agricultural producers may submit a program application.

Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands. Producers must submit a program application to be considered for financial assistance through AWEP. See the NRCS EQIP program website for information how and when to apply. For more detail regarding eligibility and application requirements contact your local NRCS field office.


Last updated: 09-28-12