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For more information, please contact:
Cristel Tufenkjian, 559.237.5567, Extension 118, cell 559.906.2952

August 12, 2009

FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS OF FUNDING AVAILABLE TO LOCAL GROWERS FOR WATER CONSERVATIONS PROJECTS

Fresno, CA - Kings River Conservation District area growers can receive cost-sharing funding to help with projects that will conserve water supplies. Fourteen million dollars of funding is available through the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). KRCD has entered into a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers through provisions of the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program.

The program focuses on getting landowners to employ high-efficiency irrigation systems to reduce the risk of off-site movement of agricultural materials and conserve irrigation water. The majority of the funds will be used to install improved irrigation systems, mainly micro-irrigation on permanent crops and irrigation pipelines and tail water recovery systems on row/filed crops. Installation of soil moisture instruments to positively impact irrigation scheduling efficiencies could also be funded.

Technical assistance could include individual site evaluations for the potential to impact nearby surface waters, the efficiency of the existing irrigation system, and a follow up evaluation to track the improvement in water usage along with the assistance in the proper management and maintenance of the new irrigation system, as well as any follow up issues from the grower.

The funding will be allocated over a 5-year period. For this fiscal year, NRCS is providing 1.5 million dollars. Applications to participate in this program will be accepted for the first year funding cycle until close of business August 27, 2009. Applications will continue to be taken after this deadline, but will be deferred until the next fiscal year funding cycle (after October 1, 2009).

To facilitate ranking of applications for funding this fiscal year, application periods have been established to allow funding of individual contracts with eligible producers. Agricultural producers interested in participating in the program must be within the specified geographical boundaries of the Kings River Conservation District and otherwise eligible for NRCS conservation programs.

For application assistance or for more information regarding the funding, please contact your local NRCS field office (Fresno: 559 276-7494, Hanford: 559 584-9209 or Visalia: 559 734-8732). You may also contact KRCD at 559 237-5567 Ext. 130 (Rick Hoelzel).

The Kings River Conservation District is a public agency that has effectively served agricultural, business, and community residents within 1.2 million acres in portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties since 1951. KRCD is a resource management agency in power, environmental resources and water management including flood control, on-farm water management, water quality efforts and groundwater management. For more information go to www.krcd.org.

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