Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides 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 operates 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 may make AWEP financial and technical assistance available to eligible owners and operators of agricultural lands who participate in approved AWEP project areas.
After the Chief has announced approved AWEP project areas, eligible agricultural producers may submit a program application.
NRCS enters into partnership agreements with eligible entities and organizations that want to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands.
AWEP is not a grant program. Eligible partners enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation, or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands. AWEP is intended to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and non-Federal resources of other eligible partners.
Individual producers are not eligible to submit a partnership proposal.
How to Apply
Eligible partners include:
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 may be eligible for the program. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.
Producers must submit a program application to be considered for financial assistance through AWEP. See the NRCS EQIP program website for information how and when to apply. For more detail regarding eligibility and application requirements contact your local NRCS field office.
The 2008 Farm Bill provides $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 will change every fiscal year depending upon appropriations and agency priorities. Agricultural producers in selected project areas may apply for available AWEP financial and technical assistance at their local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center. Once an application is selected, an eligible agricultural producer will enter 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 may receive higher rankings on AWEP proposals.
AWEP At a Glance (PDF, 57KB) - This document on the NRCS 2008 Farm Bill website, provides basic information about AWEP.
AWEP D4 Criteria 03-02-09 (PDF, 311KB) - This document provides an explanation, map and list of Counties which qualify for the AWEP exemption for irrigation history eligibility requirements. D4 Counties are those areas meeting the RFP requirements related to Exceptional Drought criteria.