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News Release

USDA Announces Funding of WaterSMART Priority Area in Hidalgo, Cameron Counties

Contact:
Lori Ziehr
254-742-9881


The priority areas are part of a collaborative effort between NRCS and the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Reclamation to modernize existing infrastructure and otherwise build drought resilience

TEMPLE, Texas, Nov. 5, 2020 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected Hidalgo, Cameron County Irrigation Districts Area to receive $500,000 in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding as part of the WaterSMART Initiative (WSI). These investments will help producers on private working lands better conserve water resources in coordination with investments made by water suppliers.

“Our farmers and ranchers are stepping up to the plate to partner with communities to gain efficiencies to better conserve our water supply,” said Kristy Oates, NRCS state conservationist in Texas. “Working with the WaterSMART Initiative allows us to make a bigger impact where it’s most needed.”

The priority areas are part of a collaborative effort between NRCS and the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Reclamation to modernize existing infrastructure and otherwise build drought resilience. The bureau’s WaterSMART programs, available in the Western U.S., work with states, tribes, and local entities to increase water supply. NRCS helps farmers and ranchers voluntarily address water quantity resource concerns and agricultural drought stress. By aligning investments through WSI, NRCS aims to improve water conservation and drought resilience.

The 31 WaterSMART Initiative Priority Areas for FY2021 are in 10 different western states. A full listing of the priority areas is available on the NRCS website.

This collaboration is a priority highlighted in the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP), a federal partnership to enhance the Nation’s drought resilience. USDA, as permanent co-chair, is working with DOI and other members of the National Drought Resilience Partnership to better coordinate drought-related programs and policies, help communities reduce the impact of current drought events, and prepare for future droughts.

For information on USDA’s drought mitigation efforts, visit USDA Drought Programs and Assistance.