CDFA announces $5.1 million in cap-and-trade funded grants for 2017 state water efficiency and enhancement program

CONTACT – CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462 steve.lyle@cdfa.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO –The California Department of Food and Agriculture is pleased to announce the projects selected for the 2017 State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Fifty-eight agricultural operations throughout the state will receive grant funding to improve crop irrigation systems that result in water savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2017 SWEEP list of selected projects is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep.

The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a competitive grant program, was initiated in 2014 in response to California’s historic five-year drought. The program has attracted a lot of attention as agricultural operations look for opportunities to improve water and energy efficiencies in agricultural practices.

The program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.

More than 230 agricultural operations applied to receive funding through the 2017 SWEEP solicitation process. Applications and quantifications of water and GHG benefits were thoroughly reviewed by a team of irrigation specialists from the University of California and California State University systems.

The awarded projects can combine multiple strategies to achieve the required water savings and emissions reductions. Project components often include drip systems, variable frequency pumps, solar energy, and sensors or weather stations to effectively time irrigation with crop water needs. The 2017 SWEEP awards leverage $7 million in matching funds from the program participants, thereby furthering the positive impacts and buy-in of the program.

Since SWEEP was launched in 2014 the program has extended funding to 587 projects, totaling more than $62 million. Cumulative benefits are estimated at 958,000 acre-feet of water savings — enough to fill more than two-million swimming pools - and 741,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent of greenhouse gas emission reductions over10 years, the equivalent of the removal of more than 20 thousand vehicles from our roads.