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Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program


What is the irrigation efficiencies grant program?

The IEGP was created in the wake of the 2001 drought to cooperatively restore instream flows for endangered salmonid populations and address on-farm water use efficiency within the state’s 16 critical basins. Conservation districts within those basins were identified as the most effective method for delivering this complex program. Since its inception, participating conservation districts have included: Asotin County, Cascadia (Chelan County), Clallam, Columbia, Kittitas County, North Yakima, Okanogan, Pomeroy (Garfield County), South Yakima, and Walla Walla County.

Who is eligible?

Any landowner with a water right for irrigation purposes on a priority stream (contact KCCD for information on priority streams) may be considered for IEGP. Once projects are developed and determined eligible, the landowner may apply to the KCCD for financial assistance for project implementation. Each project must have valid water rights and produce a biological improvement to the stream benefiting salmon.


What does the landowner have to do to receive assistance? 

  • Install a more efficient irrigation system 

  • Manage irrigation system to maximize water conservation (use qualified best management practices - BMP's)

  • Measure water usage continuously.

  • Maintain records of water usage.

  • Install a fish screen on the irrigation water diversion within twelve months.

  • Agree to compliance inspections when proper notice is given.

  • Enroll a portion of the water savings into the Washington State Trust Water Rights Program.

How much cost share will the landowner receive?

The landowner/water right holder can receive up to 85% cost share, although the exact amount of cost share is determined in part by the percentage of the saved water put into the Trust Water Rights Program.


What happens to the water enrolled in the trust water rights program? 

The saved water will be held in trust by the State until the lease period ends, at that time the water right will be returned to the water right holder in the same form as enrolled.

How will saved water be determined?

The Natural Resource Conservation Service's (NRCS) methodology that evaluates irrigation water delivery system, irrigation system efficiency, and irrigation water management will be used.


What is the difference in seniority between the saved water and the remaining water right? 

The saved water put into trust is junior to the water right remaining for land application. Therefore, in a drought year, the landowner can attempt to fulfill the senior land application right before the Trust right is fulfilled. When the lease is over, the water returns to same senior designation as the portion of the right that was retained.

What happens to the saved water not put into trust?

The amount of calculated saved water that is not enrolled in the Trust remains a part of the original water right. Water Right holders are encouraged to closely monitored usage to determinte whether the portion of the right that is retained is put to beneficial use.  If it is not, it could be in jeopardy of relinquishment.


What is the relinquishment law?

Water must be used “beneficially” – that is, a reasonable amount for a designated purpose. Water cannot be wasted. This is why there is a relinquishment law, also referred to as the “use it or lose it” law. If you do not use all or a portion of your water right for a period of five years or more you will, under most circumstances, lose the right to use that water. For more information, check out this Ecology publication.


Who pays for the fish screen?

The landowner must provide the screen or acquire other funding to pay for the screening system. Cost share programs are available through KCCD or NRCS.


What best management practices (BMP's) qualify for funding? 

  • Irrigation system (Sprinklers)

  • Irrigation water conveyance (Pipelines)

  • Irrigation water management

  • Pumping plant for water control

  • Tail water recovery

  • Structure for water control

  • Water well

  • Water flow measuring devices

Who does the landowner contact for more information or to sign up?

Contact Mark Crowley at the KCCD at (509) 925-3352 ext. 5

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