Imperial increases on-farm water conservation budget

Imperial increases on-farm water conservation budget

In support of its successful On-Farm Efficiency Conservation Program, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors has approved an increase of $3 million to the program’s 2022 budget.

The action, taking during the Board’s April 12 regular meeting, designates the additional funds to be in the form of supplemental payments to growers to help offset increasing fuel and energy costs faced by on-farm water conservation participants who use energy reliant conservation measures (such as diesel fuel, electricity, etc.).

“Due to unanticipated and significant agricultural cost increases, growers have raised concerns about their ability to continue to cost-effectively implement certain conservation measures that require a power source,” said James C. Hanks, IID Board president. “This supplemental payment is intended to help offset these cost increases and is a reflection of IID’s support of our growers who are working to generate conserved water through improved irrigation efficiencies.”

The $3 million in funds applies to growers implementing Tier A conservation measures through IID’s On-Farm Efficiency Conservation Program, which include irrigation methods such as drip, tailwater return and sprinkler systems. The energy offset supplemental payment, which is estimated to be approximately $30 per acre-foot of verified conserved water, would apply to nearly 60 percent of IID’s OFECP participants.

The supplemental payment would be in addition to the previously authorized 2022 payments, capped at $293.33 per acre-foot for Tier A measures; combined, the per acre-foot total for conservation generated by drip, tailwater return and sprinkler systems is estimated to be approximately $310/AF to $330/AF for these Tier A powered water conservation measures.

The supplement, similar to the $39.59 million 2022 budget for the On-Farm Efficiency Conservation Program, is contingent upon growers generating a minimum of 135,000 AF of conservation from crops harvested in 2022 or 2022 calendar year perennials. Should the volume of conservation be less than 135,000 AF, the $3 million would be prorated proportionally.

IID’s On-Farm Efficiency Conservation Program generated 163,069 acre-feet in 2021 and 1,150,852 acre-feet since its inception in 2013 to meet the needs of the nation’s largest ag-to-urban water conservation and transfer agreement.

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