November 14, 2023 — In Riverside County, California, the Rancho California Water District has been actively working on two significant projects aimed at improving water conservation and agriculture in Southern California. These projects are supported by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) through its Urban Community Drought Relief Program.
CropSWAP: Transforming Agriculture for Drought Resilience.
The first project, known as CropSWAP, has received a $5 million grant. This initiative focuses on transforming 160 acres of land used for water-intensive crops to grow drought-resistant and climate-appropriate crops. CropSWAP is designed to encourage farmers to adopt crops that require less water, thereby reducing the overall water demand in agriculture. This change is expected to save about 9,000 acre-feet of water every year, contributing significantly to the region’s water conservation efforts.
Groundwater Storage Expansion: Securing Water Supply.
The second project involves expanding groundwater storage capabilities by constructing a 40-acre recharge pond. This pond is designed to store up to 10,000 acre-feet of water annually. DWR has contributed $6.8 million towards this project. Groundwater is a vital resource during periods of drought or low surface water availability. By increasing groundwater storage, this project aims to enhance the water supply security for the customers of Rancho Water.
“Go Golden” Initiative: A Broader Perspective.
Both of these projects fall under the umbrella of the “Go Golden” initiative. This broader program seeks to assist communities and water agencies in addressing various challenges, such as water infrastructure repairs, water conservation, well rehabilitation, and the protection of fish and wildlife. These efforts are particularly crucial as California adapts to a changing climate.
For those interested in these initiatives and water conservation efforts in California, updates and news are regularly provided by the DWR through their email subscription list. Grant and loan opportunities are also listed on DWR’s website.
Image of converted vineyard in Riverside County published in California DWR’s news release.