CDFA’s water use efficiency program, known as SWEEP, has delivered enough incentives grants to farmers since launching in 2014 that 37.5 billion gallons of water have been conserved, according to CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. That amounts to about 70,000 olympic-sized swimming pools and permanent reductions in both water and energy use, leading to fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking to stakeholders Tuesday about the governor’s new budget proposal, Ross shared that the state has paid $80 million to more than 825 projects. The $50 million allocated in the last budget cycle has now been spent and the program is oversubscribed. The governor is proposing an additional $20 million for this year.
The budget plan also includes $5 million in direct assistance to farmers as drought relief. Ross said the only other time the state has done this was as pandemic relief last year for underserved farmers.
In conjunction with releasing the budget plan this week, the administration issued a progress report Tuesday on its Water Resilience Portfolio. Among the 142 actions in the portfolio, the agencies tout efforts to restore drinking water, improve fish habitat and assist groundwater sustainability agencies.
“We’ve made solid progress building drought and flood resilience across the state in the last 18 months,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot.
Ross saluted efforts to modernize the state’s water management system and create new efficiencies.
“We need to know what to expect, and we need flexible, well-functioning infrastructure to respond,” said Ross.