FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Dept. of Conservation Accepting Applications for Round 2 of Land Repurposing Program

From the Department of Conservation:

Applications for $40 million in Round 2 grants from the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program, part of Governor Newsom’s multi-faceted response to the ongoing drought, can be submitted now through March 29. 

The California Department of Conservation just released new guidelines for this program, which funds repurposing irrigated agricultural land in areas impacted by the drought and years of groundwater overdraft. 

“Despite the amount of precipitation we’ve received recently, we’re not out of the woods when it comes to long-term water issues and drought,” Conservation Director David Shabazian said. “California’s recent big storms exemplify the need to increase aquifer recharge in wet years and to minimize the impact of reduced groundwater use going forward. Strategic land repurposing in areas that were historically floodplains or can be flooded when rivers are running high is a key opportunity enhanced by this program.”

The Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program aims to increase regional capacity to repurpose agricultural land by supporting projects that not only conserve groundwater but also provide community health, economic well-being, water supply, habitat, and climate benefits.

Conservation accepted public comments on the new guidelines for a month. Some of the key adjustments to this year’s guidelines include adding disadvantaged community benefits as its own selection criterion, as well as clarifying project eligibility, the application review process, project monitoring expectations, and eligible costs.

In 2022, its initial year, the program funded four grants to organizations based in Tulare, Monterey, and Madera counties plus one statewide award to provide support to block grantees and help other organizations develop competitive applications for future rounds. The program received a dozen applications for more than $110 million.

In Round 2, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program will grant up to $40 million for projects in critically over-drafted groundwater basins as well as high- and medium-priority basins subject to an emergency drought declaration. Round 2 awards are tentatively scheduled to be announced on June 1.

Click here for more information on the Multi-Benefit Land Repurposing Program.


At the Kern County Water Summit held last week, hosted by the Water Association of Kern County, Acting Deputy Director of the Department of Water Resources Statewide Groundwater Management Program Steven Springhorn provided an update on the Department’s progress on SGMA implementation, including the Department’s review of the submitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans and the existing and proposed SGMA-related assistance.

He began by noting the considerable amount of work that has been done the past six years since the law went into effect, includes establishing regulations for the forming Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (or GSAs) and for developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (or GSPs).

We are right now at a point where SGMA is hitting its full stride,” said Mr. Springhorn.  “There is still a lot of work ahead of us in this next phase, which is full-scale plan implementation over the next 20 years.  The local efforts of implementing plans and adaptively managing the groundwater basins will allow us to find solutions to the tough challenges that are out there in order to reach sustainability in 20 years and make measurable progress along the way.

Click here to read this article at Maven’s Notebook.

CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Last year was a milestone year for SGMA, with the critically-overdrafted basins required to submit their first groundwater sustainability plans to DWR by January 31st of 2020. The Department is currently reviewing these groundwater sustainability plans and will release assessments of them this year.  By statute, the Department has two years to complete an evaluation of the plans.

At the California Water Commission’s March meeting, the commissioners received an update on how the implementation of SGMA is going from staff from the DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Office.  Their presentation included the approach and timeline for releasing assessments of groundwater sustainability plans and the state’s planning technical and financial assistance supporting local SGMA implementation.

Click here to read this article.

Funding a future for water in the San Joaquin Valley

From the California Water Institute:

For all of California’s problems with surface and groundwater, the one not receiving the attention it arguably deserves is the problem of funding for new infrastructure, as well as the ongoing maintenance of existing infrastructure, much of which is now old and decaying.  Nationwide, the American Water Works Association estimates that an investment of about $1 trillion in infrastructure is needed by 2035 to make sure that Americans have access to clean drinking water (Thompson 2015).  Just achieving this in California alone would require spending approximately $30 to $160 million more a year on infrastructure, which, along with flood control and ecosystem preservation, are believed to be more poorly funded than water storage infrastructure (Hanak et al. 2014).

Where will the necessary funding come from to develop, upgrade, expand, and refurbish the water infrastructure systems in the San Joaquin Valley?

Read the California Water Institute’s first in a series of reports about funding options and strategies for water infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.  This first report, “Funding a Future for Water in the San Joaquin Valley: A Literature Review of Public Funding For Water Infrastructure” is available for review by clicking here. Special thanks to Professor Holyoke and his students in Fresno State’s College of Social Sciences for conducting this initial research effort.  We would also like to thank the generous contributions of our anonymous donor that graciously provided funding for this important work.  Stay tuned for the next reports.

Solutions to regional effort can only be made with regional input, we would like to hear your opinion! Please send any comments and or suggestions to this report to

Click here to download this report.

Funding opportunities: It’s not too late to apply for SGMA Planning Grant funds; Help with technical assistance; State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: It’s not too late to apply for SGMA Planning Grant Funds

From the Department of Water Resources:

This is a friendly reminder that there is still time for groundwater sustainability agencies and partner agencies to submit applications for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Planning (SGMP) Grant Program which has at least $47.5 million to award for activities related to the development of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. DWR has significantly streamlined the process from the last SGMP round making it still feasible for an applicant to prepare and submit a competitive application.  Grant applications can be submitted using GRanTS, DWR’s online submittal tool, and will be accepted until 1 p.m., on Friday, November 1, 2019. For more information, call (916) 651-9613 or email the program at

FUNDING ASSISTANCE OPPORTUNITY: Free assistance offered through WaterNow’s Project Accelerator

Is your utility or city trying to get a water initiative off the ground but doesn’t have enough time? Does your municipality want to launch a water efficiency program but needs more information or capacity? Perhaps your community would benefit from rebate incentives but you need more research or best management practices to implement?

You’re not alone. Many cities and utilities want to adopt innovative water programs but they require time and resources to implement. And let’s face it, the everyday workload of most utility staff probably doesn’t include bandwidth to accomplish new tasks.

WaterNow has the answer – and it’s FREE!

The WaterNow Project Accelerator can help advance a project or program that could provide sustainable solutions to stormwater, wastewater, and water quality challenges in your community. Fill out an application and we will select two projects to receive professional hands-on support and technical and program assistance ranging from deep water policy expertise to communications strategies. Project Accelerator offerings include up to 250 hours of professional support in 3-6 months (valued at $25,000 each).

Click here for more information and to apply.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

From the California Department of Food and Agriculture:

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), a competitive grant program that incentivizes farmers to invest in irrigation water and energy efficiency. Agricultural operations can apply for up to $100,000 for projects that involve improvements to irrigation systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save water. Projects funded through SWEEP commonly include elements such as soil, plant or weather sensors; micro-irrigation systems; pump retrofits or replacements; renewable energy; and variable frequency drives – among others.

Applications are due Monday, December 16, 2019 at 5 p.m. CDFA will hold three no-cost workshops to provide information on program requirements and the application process. Webinar participation is available, but applicants are encouraged to attend in person.

SWEEP Application Workshops:

Willows, CA – Monday, October 28, 2019
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Glenn County Office of Education
311 South Villa Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
Register for webinar participation at

Modesto, CA – Tuesday, October 29, 2019
10 a.m. to noon
Stanislaus County Agricultural Center
Harvest Hall, Room DE
3800 Cornucopia Way
Modesto, CA 95358
Register for webinar participation at

Bakersfield, CA – Wednesday, October 30, 2019
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
University of California Cooperative Extension
1031 S. Mount Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93307
Register for webinar participation at

Potential applicants should review the application materials posted on the SWEEP webpage at A list of CDFA-contracted technical assistance providers is also available on the SWEEP webpage. These organizations are available to provide no-cost application assistance to farmers who would like to apply for a SWEEP award.

This round of SWEEP is authorized by the Budget Act of 2018 and funded through the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 (SB-5).

Click here to view more funding opportunities.

State distributes grants to help implement SGMA

“With some local agencies just months away from a deadline to complete groundwater management plans, local and state officials acknowledge there have been a few speed bumps in distributing grant funding for planning and implementation. But observers say they expect the grant process overall to benefit groups working to comply with provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

“There’s the old adage that there’s no free money; you take the bad with the good and the bad is, these processes always take longer,” Northern California Water Association President David Guy said. … ”

Continue reading at Ag Alert here: State distributes grants to help implement SGMA

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority discusses, approves revised budget

“Discussion and approval of a revised budget and awarding of a $240,000 contract for water marketing consulting services were the main action items for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board March 21.

A report and discussion on Plan of Action and Milestones, a report on Proposition 1 grant status, and a report on pump fee status and schedule were among other items on the agenda.

“Staff went through and basically reworked the budget from the start,” said Indian Wells Valley Water District General Manager Don Zdeba. … ”

Read more from the Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority discusses, approves revised budget

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority mulls budget

“After skipping its February meeting to figure out staffing, the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority had a chance to mull over its draft budget for this fiscal year.  This budget takes into consideration some unknowns when the initial budget was developed prior to the official formation of the Authority.

The biggest unknown was the grant application to cover the consultant’s cost to come up with a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The OVGA got the grant and will now use member contributions to cover staff and other miscellaneous costs. … ”

Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Owens Valley Groundwater Authority mulls budget

No budget approved, Navy weighs in at IWV Groundwater Authority meeting:

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority met at City Hall on Thursday morning, first with an hour-long closed session meeting, covering potential litigation, followed by a five-hour regular meeting.

The 2019 IWVGA budget was not approved, after several board members and a handful of residents voiced their concerns over the presentation.  For starters, the budget that was presented was different from the one that was in the packet. A handful of numbers had been updated, including the total revenue (pump fee revenue and stressed counties grant revenue reimbursements) as well as a couple of lines in the expenditures section. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  No budget approved, Navy weighs in at IWV Groundwater Authority meeting

Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs

From the San Diego Union Tribune:

“It’s back to square one for the desert community of Borrego Springs, which is facing the daunting task of reducing its consumption of water by at least 75 percent in the coming decades.

Mostly lost in the hubbub surrounding the Nov. 6 election was the defeat of Proposition 3, an $8.8 billion state water bond.  Had it passed, Borrego Springs would have received $35 million to fallow most of the 3,800 acres of citrus and other farms in the northern part of the community. … ”

Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs