Cascadia Conservation District

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Irrigation Efficiency Upgrade Program

Irrigation Efficiency Upgrade Program

irrigation canal near orchard

Cascadia Conservation District works with the State Conservation Commission (SCC) to provide free technical assistance through our statewide Irrigation Efficiencies grant program to help save water for people, farms, and fish. We work with large-scale agricultural irrigators and water purveyors (irrigation districts, associations, etc.) to convert existing systems to be more efficient, contributing to water savings.

Initially established for the benefit of salmonids listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the program has inherited proviso language to address other water resource issues.

What is the Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program?

The Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program (IEGP) is a water savings program that provides financial incentives to irrigators and water purveyors willing to enhance existing infrastructure to a more efficient system. The main objective of the program is to conserve water by keeping it in our streams. Efficient irrigation systems prevent water loss to evaporation, improve crop production with directed watering applications, and provide reliable water supply using Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) and timers.

In addition to water savings and reducing instream flows, the program works to reduce aquifer demand, mitigate drought vulnerability, enhance water quality, improve reliability of water supply flow and/or timing, and increase on-farm productivity or profitability especially for agricultural lands under threat of conversion to non-agricultural uses. Cascadia has been a participating conservation district since the program began in 2002.

How it works

It starts with a conversation with one of our Resource Specialists. We will talk about your current irrigation design, production, and goals. The next step is a site visit, so that we can visualize the potential project and continue to gather information.

Our Specialists will be there every step of the way to provide direct assistance with the design, development, and administration of each project. Additionally, we can assist the development of irrigation water management plans to ensure wise management of the new practices. All the technical assistance is provided for free, with the opportunity for financial assistance.

Visit the State Conservation Commission’s Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program website to learn more about program guidelines and the application process.

Eligible Practices

Water availability is a high-priority natural resource concern in Chelan County. Irrigation water can be conserved through efficiency upgrades to conveyance systems (canals, ditches) and application systems (flood, furrow, sprinklers).

Examples of eligible practices include:

  • Irrigation conveyance systems
  • Irrigation application systems
    • Sprinkler system
    • Nozzles and gaskets
  • Filters
  • Irrigation pipeline
  • Irrigation water management
    • Weather stations
    • Soil moisture monitoring
  • Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)
  • Fish screens

Water savings for conveyance and purveyor projects require eligibility for protection in the State’s Trust Water Rights Program (TWR). On a case-by-case basis, the transfer of saved water to the TWR may be required to preserve the public benefit by the project.