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Agricultural Water Use Efficiency

Water sustainability goals are challenging farmers to use every drop wisely. To help, the State of California has awarded Ventura County a cost share grant with $1.2 million available for technical assistance and equipment rebates to improve agricultural irrigation and energy efficiency.


Water Issues

Grant Assistance Program


What does the funding cover?

The Agricultural Water Use Efficiency (AWUE) program will rebate farmers up to 60% of equipment upgrades that demonstrate quantifiable water and energy savings. This equipment may include irrigation timers, meters, sprinklers, soil moisture sensors, drip tape and emitters, irrigation software, high efficiency pumps, pipes and valves.  (Installation costs are not reimbursable due to grant restrictions.)

Who is eligible?

All commercial farms in Ventura County may complete an AWUE Interest Survey for the program. Those operations with the greatest potential for savings will be invited to review and sign an AWUE Cooperative Agreement to begin the process.

How does it work?

Participating farms will have a free, on-site technical evaluation of operations and irrigation system(s) to develop a set of recommendations to improve water and energy efficiency. The evaluation may include a distribution uniformity (DU) test of the irrigation system(s) to determine if the system is applying irrigation water optimally, a review of irrigation scheduling vs. crop need, and other related practices and operational/testing equipment. In conjunction with irrigation efficiency, opportunities for energy savings will also be evaluated. As a cooperative evaluation, innovative ideas that improve water efficiency will be explored for possible recommendation.

Equipment upgrades that are mutually agreed upon and implemented within one year at the farmer’s upfront cost will be up to 60% reimbursed following a free post-project evaluation.

Are there other funding opportunities?

Farmers in Ventura County who meet certain requirements may also be eligible for coordinated funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to further offset equipment costs of the same water efficiency and energy improvements. This includes special assistance funding for farms located in these Calleguas Creek subwatersheds: Revolon Slough, Beardsley Wash, Las Posas Arroyo and Lower Conejo Arroyo. Contact Dawn Afman, NRCS at dawn.afman@ca.usda.gov or (805) 984-2358 x101 for more information.

What is the timing?

All Ventura County farmers may complete the AWUE Interest Survey at any time. NRCS potentially coordinated projects will receive extra credit in the selection process. The selection process is now ongoing while funds are available.

How do I begin?

Visit this page for up-to-date information. If you are interested in participating in the AWUE program, it is recommended that you review the AWUE Cooperative Agreement to fully understand the program before deciding to complete the AWUE Interest Survey (online survey now open)

Alternatively, you may print the paper version below of the Interest Survey and mail it to the Farm Bureau or scan and email to Jodi Switzer.  

AWUE Interest Survey (paper version) AWUE Interest Survey (paper version) (494 KB)

AWUE Interest Survey (online)

Sample AWUE Cooperative Agreement Sample AWUE Cooperative Agreement (180 KB)

Grant Funding Event Resources

Over 200 members of the agricultural community attended the AWUE Education and Funding Event on Sept.27, 2016 in Oxnard. Attendees learned more about the new grant and the technical services to be provided by the program.  In addition, Jenny Newman from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board presented important information about the new Agricultural Conditional Waiver and its requirements for growers.

AWUE Event Grant Assistance Funding Presentation AWUE Event Grant Assistance Funding Presentation (29503 KB)

AWUE Event Regional Board Ag Conditional Waiver Presentation AWUE Event Regional Board Ag Conditional Waiver Presentation (11328 KB)


For AWUE program information questions, please contact Jodi Switzer, Water Program Director, at Jodi@farmbureauvc.com or (805) 289-0155.

For AWUE field evaluation questions, please contact Jamie Whiteford, Ventura County Resource Conservation District, at jamie.k.whiteford@gmail.com or (805) 764-5132.

For NRCS questions, please contact Dawn Afman, NRCS at dawn.afman@ca.usda.gov or (805) 984-2358 x101.  

Last revised August 3, 2018


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