Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiatives
In February of 2004, TWDB authorized funding of Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative Grants. These long-term grant awards provide funding to political subdivisions for conducting demonstration initiatives to assess proven ability to increase water conservation through cost-effective increases in water use efficiency.
The objective of these grant awards is to demonstrate and evaluate cost-effective technologies that will increase water conservation and water use efficiency. These large-scale demonstration sites yield comprehensive data on evaluating impacts to crop productivity, irrigation water use, and available water supplies.
These demonstration sites also will provide education and outreach enabling the transfer of proven water conservation technologies to area producers.
Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative Projects
Two Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative projects were awarded grant funds in September of 2004.
An eight year grant of up to $6.2 million was awarded to Texas Tech University for" An Integrated Approach to Water Conservation in the Texas Southern High Plains."
A ten year grant of up to $3.8 million was awarded to the Harlingen Irrigation District for "Maximization of On-Farm Surface Water Use Efficiency by Integration of On-Farm Application and District Delivery Systems."
These projects represent a significant step in implementing the State Water Plan. Irrigated agriculture has historically been the largest user of water across the state, accounting for approximately 60 percent of total water use statewide. Agriculture, a cornerstone of the economy for both the High Plains and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, accounts for significant water demand in both of these regions.
Regional Water Planning Groups in both project areas identified significant projected water shortages over the next 50 years in their Regional Water Plans. The Regional Water Planning Groups identified agricultural water conservation as a critical water management strategy in their plans to meet future water demands. The Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiatives serve as a vehicle to facilitate the adoption of on-farm water conservation management strategies.