One of the 2019 Legislature’s positive outcomes for agriculture was an appropriation (HB 381) that created the Water Optimization Fund. This $3 million in funding was designed to support individual farmer projects that demonstrate a need and ability to reduce consumptive water use while maintaining or even improving agriculture production and productivity.
It’s also designed to provide increased operational flexibility for agriculture water users moving forward. As such, accurate real-time measurement of diverted water will be an essential component to selecting recipients.
“We’re excited to see the addition of this funding and program,” said Commissioner Kerry Gibson. “Utah farmers have consistently demonstrated their engagement in resource stewardship, and this program gives them yet one more way in which to create efficiencies that will impact generations to come.”
Under guidelines set forth in the appropriation, projects will be limited to $250,000, and 20% of the funding will be withheld until final inspection and review of completed projects. Spot checks to determine project effectiveness will be conducted periodically to help evaluate the program.
Proposed projects will be rated on their scope, scalability, a number of beneficiaries, description and design, cost and fund request, estimated timeline, and the optimization or savings expected per season, among other things.
Recipients will be required to provide an annual report for three years following completion to validate functionality and optimization goals.
For more information about the program click here to review the Water Optimization Funding Criteria, click here to view the Water Optimization Grant Funding application, or contact Jay Olsen, UDAF Environmental Program Manager at 801-538-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Please note, once you complete the electronic PDF application, save a copy to your computer, then email the form to Jay Olsen at email@example.com