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WaterSMART

Overview

Managing water resources in the American West can be challenging. Drought, aging infrastructure, and environmental requirements can strain existing resources. Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and NRCS target funding to high priority water delivery agencies and on-farm irrigation improvements to better manage limited water resources under varying conditions.

NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance to eligible producers to install water use efficiency conservation practices on irrigated lands serviced by a water delivery agency where BOR WaterSMART funding was utilized to modernize existing infrastructure, follow this like for more information for FY20 WaterSMART boundaries.

The following sections include the applicable land uses, resource concerns, and conservation practices for the ranking pool.

Land Uses

The descriptions below are the general NRCS land use definitions - applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions. Below are the applicable land uses for the ranking pool.

  • Crop: Land used primarily for the production and harvest of annual or perennial field, forage, food, fiber, horticultural, orchard, vineyard, or energy crops.
  • Pasture: Land composed of introduced or domesticated native forage species that is used primarily for the production of livestock. Pastures receive periodic renovation and cultural treatments, such as tillage, fertilization, mowing, weed control, and may be irrigated. Pastures are not in rotation with crops.
  • Farmstead: Land used for facilities and supporting infrastructure where farming, forestry, animal husbandry, and ranching activities are often initiated. This may include dwellings, equipment storage, plus farm input and output storage and handling facilities.
  • Associated Agricultural Lands: Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage, or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas, such as odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas.
  • Irrigated: Where an operational irrigation system is present and managed to supply irrigation water.

Resource Concerns

The goal of conservation planning is to help each client attain sustainable use and sound management of soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources, based on related human considerations (SWAPAE+H).  Below is a list of priority resource concerns for the ranking pool.

SWAPAE+H
Resource Concern Category
Resource Concern
Soil
Soil Quality Limitation
Aggregate instability
Compaction
Concentration of salts or other chemicals
Organic matter depletion
Soil organism habitat loss or degradation
Subsidence
Wind and Water Erosion
Sheet and rill erosion
Wind erosion
Water
Source Water Depletion
Groundwater depletion
Inefficient irrigation water use
Surface water depletion
Weather Resilience
Naturally available moisture use
Plants
Degraded Plant Condition
Plant productivity and health
 

Conservation Practices

NRCS conservation practices eligible for financial assistance through this ranking pool are listed in the below table. For more information about NRCS conservation practices visit the following website link: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/?cid=NRCSDEV11_001020.

Practice Code
Conservation Practice Name
Practice Units
Lifespan (Years)
327
Conservation Cover
ac
5
328
Conservation Crop Rotation
ac
1
329
Residue and Tillage Management, No-Till
ac
1
340
Cover Crop
ac
1
342
Critical Area Planting
ac
1
345
Residue and Tillage Management, Reduced Till
ac
1
350
Sediment Basin
no
20
362
Diversion
ft
10
380
Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment
ft
15
386
Field Border
ac
10
388
Irrigation Field Ditch
ft
15
390
Riparian Herbaceous Cover
ac
5
391
Riparian Forest Buffer
ac
15
412
Grassed Waterway
ac
10
422
Hedgerow Planting
ft
15
428
Irrigation Ditch Lining
ft
20
430
Irrigation Pipeline
ft
20
436
Irrigation Reservoir
ac-ft
15
441
Irrigation System, Microirrigation
ac
15
442
Sprinkler System
ac
15
443
Irrigation System, Surface and Subsurface
ac
15
449
Irrigation Water Management
ac
1
462
Precision Land Forming
ac
10
464
Irrigation Land Leveling
ac
15
466
Land Smoothing
ac
10
468
Lined Waterway or Outlet
ft
15
472
Access Control
ac
10
484
Mulching
ac
1
516
Livestock Pipeline
ft
20
520
Pond Sealing or Lining, Compacted Soil
no
15
521
Pond Sealing or Lining, Flexible Membrane
no
20
528
Prescribed Grazing
ac
1
533
Pumping Plant
no
15
557
Row Arrangement
ac
5
558
Roof Runoff Structure
no
15
580
Streambank and Shoreline Protection
ft
20
587
Structure for Water Control
no
20
590
Nutrient Management
ac
1
603
Herbaceous Wind Barriers
ft
5
610
Salinity and Sodic Management
ac
1
614
Watering Facility
no
20
620
Underground Outlet
ft
20
629
Waste Treatment
no
10
638
Water and Sediment Control Basin
no
10
650
Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation
ft
15
740
Pond Sealing and Lining, Soil Cement
no
20

Interested Applicants

For more information about EQIP, how to apply and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation. 

Visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/ to find the NRCS representative for your county.