Fix That Irrigation System - SWEEP Grants Coming This Fall

Sep 6, 2019

California Department of Food and Agriculture will reopen the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) towards the end of 2019. The SWEEP program provides up to $100,000 for practices that increase water use efficiency and reduce energy use in water management. Practices that are eligible include pump retrofits, installation of variable frequency drives, converting a pump to run on solar, or changing irrigation systems to a more efficient application. While there is no set date for SWEEP to reopen, now is the time to get your project and application materials together.

Stay tuned for more information and date announcement! In the meantime, you can:

-          Go to SWEEP website:

-          Review the most recent Request for Grant Applications:

-          Create a project design and list the practices you want to implement

-          View the list of 2018 recipients and project descriptions:

-          Get quotes for items needed for the project, itemized and with labor included

-          Get a pump efficiency test for all the pumps that will be affected by the project

-          Get 12 months of energy use data for pumps (e.g. energy bills or fuel receipts)

-          Schedule time to talk to a technical assistance provider – Alli Rowe at UCCE Ventura, or Jamie Whiteford with Ventura County RCD,

To get your wheels turning, check out these examples of recently awarded projects:

Santa Cruz: This project will install a solar photovoltaic system to power the farm's groundwater pump, switching from fossil fuel based electricity to a renewable energy source. It will also install a variable frequency drive (VFD) at the well pump to improve energy use efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from groundwater pumping. Finally, through this project the farming operation will acquire a flowmeter and five soil moisture sensors to improve irrigation scheduling and water conservation.

Sutter: This project plans to transition from farming 80 acres of rice with a flood irrigation system to farming 80 acres of almonds with a micro sprinkler irrigation system. Also, the old pump will be replaced with a 75 HP pump and moisture sensors will be utilized to help manage water usage.

Riverside: The project proposes to install soil moisture sensors, cloud based data collection, a flow meter, weather station, and automatic shut off valves to increase water savings. To reduce greenhouse gas emission the project proposes to install a solar system to power well pumps.

By Ben Faber
Author - Advisor

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