Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)
With the enactment of the Agricultural Act (February 7, 2014) funding provided for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) in FY-2014 is no longer available for obligations.
NRCS will honor and continue to support fiscal year 2014 WHIP program contracts using the rules and policy that was in effect at the time of contract obligations.
If you are interested in applying for water enhancement projects in programs, please visit the 2014 Farm Bill RCPP web page.
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) was a voluntary conservation initiative that provided financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality.
As part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), AWEP operated through program contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements.
How AWEP Works
Each fiscal year, NRCS made AWEP financial and technical assistance available to eligible owners and operators of agricultural lands who participated in approved AWEP project areas.
After the Chief announced approved AWEP project areas, eligible agricultural producers were able to submit a program application.
NRCS entered into partnership agreements with eligible entities and organizations that wanted to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands.
AWEP was not a grant program. Eligible partners entered into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation, or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands. AWEP was intended to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and non-Federal resources of other eligible partners.
Individual producers wee not eligible to submit a partnership proposal.
How to Apply
Eligible partners included:
Federally recognized Indian Tribes
units of local government
agricultural or silvicultural associations or other groups of such producers such as
an irrigation association
an agricultural land trust
or other nongovernmental organization with experience working with agricultural producers.
Owners and operators engaged in livestock or agricultural production were potentially eligible for the program. Eligible land included cropland, rangeland, pasture, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.
Producers were required to submit a program application to be considered for financial assistance through AWEP.
The 2008 Farm Bill provided $73 million for fiscal year 2009, $73 million for fiscal year 2010, $74 million for fiscal year 2011, and $60 million for fiscal year 2012 and each year thereafter for AWEP.
Please note that the amount of financial assistance provided to approved projects changed every fiscal year depending upon appropriations and agency priorities. Agricultural producers in selected project areas were able to apply for available AWEP financial and technical assistance at their local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center. Once an application was selected, an eligible agricultural producer entered into a contract with NRCS to receive technical assistance and to implement approved conservation practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most Frequently Asked Questions are answered on this page and are available as a download (PDF, 86KB).
Approved Projects, 2009 - 2011
2009 Project Proposals Approved for FY 2009
AWEP Project Proposals Approved for Fiscal Year 2009, PDF download
2010 Project Proposals Approved for FY 2010
2010 AWEP Project Proposals Approved for Fiscal Year 2009, PDF download
Approved List of Projects for FY 2011
AWEP Program Data
General AWEP Information
AWEP Partnership Agreement Template(DOC, 39KB)
Approved AWEP Priority Areas (PDF, 141KB) details which parts of the country received higher rankings on AWEP proposals.
AWEP At a Glance (PDF, 57KB) - This document on the NRCS 2008 Farm Bill website, provided basic information about AWEP.
AWEP D4 Criteria 03-02-09 (PDF, 311KB) - This document provides an explanation, map and list of Counties which qualified for the AWEP exemption for irrigation history eligibility requirements. D4 Counties are those areas which met the RFP requirements related to Exceptional Drought criteria.