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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program

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.

Introduction

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

Eligible partners included:

  • Federally recognized Indian Tribes
  • States
  • 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.
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. 

Funding

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

2009 Project Proposals Approved for FY 2009 

AWEP Project Proposals Approved for Fiscal Year 2009, PDF download

 

2010

2010 Project Proposals Approved for FY 2010

2010 AWEP Project Proposals Approved for Fiscal Year 2009, PDF download

 

2011

Approved List of Projects for FY 2011

 

AWEP Program Data

AMA program result data are now housed on the RCA Soil Viewer website, http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/rca/national/technical/nra/rca/ida/

Links to program-specific reports for FY2009 - 2012 are available on this page.

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.