Irrigation Efficiency Program

Irrigation Efficiencies

What is the Irrigation Efficiencies Program?
The Irrigation Efficiencies Program allows conservation districts to provide technical and cost share assistance to irrigators who wish to improve their irrigation system efficiency.

Who is eligible?
Any landowner with a water right for irrigation purposes on a priority stream (contact North Yakima Conservation District for information on priority streams).

What does the landowner have to do to receive assistance?

  • Implement an irrigation system improvement using qualified Best Management Practices (BMP)
  • Measure water use continuously
  • Maintain records of water use
  • Install fish screens in diversions within twelve months (see additional NYCD programs)
  • Agree to compliance inspections when proper notice is given
  • Trust a percentage of the water saved by the project to the State for a period of time equal to or exceeding the expected life of the BMP implemented.

How much cost share will the landowner receive?
The amount of cost share is determined in part by the percentage of the saved water put into trust and the length of the trust period. The landowner can receive up to 85% cost share funding. Additional funding may often be found through other sources to increase cost share to 100%.

What happens to the trusted water?
The trusted water, which can be thought of as a temporary lease, will be held by the State until the lease period ends, at that time the water right will be returned to the landowner 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.

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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 gets water. When the lease is over, the water returns to “senior” designation.

What happens to the “saved water” not put into trust?
The “saved water” not put into trust remains a part of the original water right. However, that portion of the original water right that is “saved” and not put into trust could potentially be in jeopardy of relinquishment (the “use it or lose it” rule) because it is not protected by the State’s water trust program. Therefore, it is encouraged that all saved water put into trust, at least temporarily.

What is the relinquishment rule?
The amount of water not utilized in at least one out of 5 consecutive years period may be relinquished or returned to the State as Waters of the State. This concept is commonly referred to as “use it or lose it.”

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 NYCD or NRCS. NYCD’s Yakima Tributary & Access Habitat Program provides 100% of cost for fish screens and fish barrier passage removal.

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

For more information contact:

Mike Tobin

(509) 454-5743 ex. 8555

Click Here  for a Printable Brochure on the Irrigation Efficiencies Program


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