USDA Invests millions to build drought resilience

NRCS names 15 new priority areas in WaterSMART Initiative including TCID

The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District has been designated to receive funds from the WaterSMART Initiative.

The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District has been designated to receive funds from the WaterSMART Initiative.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $21 million as part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s collaboration with the Department of Interior’s WaterSMART Initiative to help farmers and ranchers conserve water and build drought resilience in their communities.
These investments complement projects by irrigation districts, water suppliers and other organizations receiving WaterSMART Program funds from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. NRCS works with Reclamation to coordinate investments in the same community for accelerating water conservation and drought resilience and making a bigger impact where it is most needed.
“The consequences of drought have continued to impact farms, ranches and communities across much of the West and other parts of the country,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said. “Drought is a complex challenge, and our collaboration on WaterSMART is part of our strategic approach to help producers conserve water and build resilience while also bringing important partners to the table. Bringing as many like-minded individuals and groups as possible to innovate together is our best solution for water management in the West.”
One of the new WaterSmart priority areas is the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.
“Reclamation's collaboration with NRCS maximizes each agency’s investment in tackling conservation and building drought resiliency in the West,” said DOI Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “Earlier this year, Reclamation awarded $42.4 million to 55 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Projects to support on-the-ground improvements to conserve water and build resilience to drought. Many of the projects announced by NRCS today will complement existing WaterSMART projects, maximizing the benefits of each agency’s conservation programs.”
In fiscal year 2022, NRCS will invest in 15 new priority areas and 25 existing priority areas with continued need, assisting producers and communities in 13 states across the West. NRCS is providing the funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).


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