Sept. 25 Deadline Nears For AIM Program Applications

September 25 is the deadline to submit cost-share funding applications for the third round of the High Plains Water District's Assistance in Irrigation Management Program (AIM).

HPWD recently received $230,000 for AIM funding through the Texas Water Development Board’s Agricultural Water Conservation Grants program. This is the third year that HPWD has made these cost-share funds available to interested producers.

“AIM is a voluntary program to assist producers with the purchase price of telemetry-based irrigation monitoring systems used with either a center pivot system or subsurface drip irrigation system,” said HPWD General Manager Jason Coleman.

An online application form and procedures are available at aimapp.hpwd.org. This website also includes a link to program terms & conditions – plus essential information to be included in the application.

“This year, the allocated cost-share funding is tied to the number of irrigated acres by county within the Water District. We will evaluate the number of applications received by county at the end of the three-week application period. Any remaining funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis after that time,” Coleman said.

More than 40 producers enrolled 18,400 acres of land during the first round of the AIM Program (2017). There were 154 telemetry-based systems deployed which resulted in 13,500 acre-inches of water saved.

Of this, Coleman said 6,372 acre-inches of water was saved when producers received notification of irrigation system malfunctions; 6,029 acre-inches was saved with use of irrigation scheduling software; and 1,093 acre-inches was saved by remotely turning off equipment in response to a rainfall alert.

“During the past two years, producers have shown a great amount of interest in using telemetry-based technology to improve their irrigation scheduling,” Coleman said. “HPWD commends them for their efforts to conserve groundwater resources within the District.”

Additional information about the AIM Program is available by contacting Victoria Whitehead at (806) 762-0181 or emailing aim@hpwd.org

July Is Smart Irrigation Month

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July is typically the month when the most water is used for landscape irrigation. This can account for 50 to 80 percent of the water used in a home during summer months. Much of this is often wasted through selection of improper plant materials and/or inefficient landscape watering practices -- including runoff.

As a result, the Irrigation Association (IA) has named July Smart Irrigation Month to draw attention to use of efficient irrigation technologies and practices.

The High Plains Water District (HPWD) is celebrating this month by sharing tips to help homeowners reduce the amount of water used outdoors.

You can save water in your landscape by implementing some of these practices:

  • Conduct an annual irrigation audit to make sure your system is working efficiently.

  • Replace water-intensive plants with drought-tolerant or native varieties.

  • Use smart technologies to help manage water use. Rain sensors, soil moisture probes, and smart controllers can help you with water management decisions.

  • Water deeply and less frequently to make your turf more resistant to drought and/or foot traffic.

  • Install a rainwater harvesting system to offset your use of groundwater or municipal water supplies.

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Smart Irrigation Month is not just for homeowners. The Irrigation Association also has some helpful tips for agricultural producers.

  • Take advantage of cost-share programs, such as the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

  • Minimize irrigation water runoff (“tailwater”) from fields.

  • Use telemetry equipment to improve irrigation scheduling.

  • Improve soil management to improve water infiltration and reduce runoff.

“It is important to make sure irrigation systems are properly operated and maintained,” says High Plains Water District Manager Jason Coleman.  “This not only saves money—but it can help reduce waste of the region’s surface water and groundwater resources.  The High Plains Water District encourages persons to use water wisely without waste each day,” he says.

Additional information about Smart Irrigation Month is available at the Irrigation Association’s website (irrigation.org)

 

RCPP Cost-Share Funding Still Available To Producers

 Producers in the Panhandle-South Plains region are reminded that cost-share funding is still available for installation of irrigation system monitoring equipment, soil moisture probes, and other irrigation management equipment through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
 
Approximately $600,000 is available for the remainder of the program, which ends in 2018.
 
Participation in RCPP is entirely voluntary. Interested producers can sign up for the program at their local USDA-NRCS service center. Additional information about RCPP is available at https://tinyurl.com/nv7vkms. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
 
In addition, be sure to visit www.hpwd.org/rcpp for information about eligible equipment, estimated payment rates, a contact list of USDA-NRCS Service Centers, and a map illustrating the 29 counties participating in RCPP.
 
High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) in Lubbock serves as the lead RCPP partner. Supporting partners include Hemphill County UWCD in Canadian, Llano Estacado UWCD at Seminole, Mesa UWCD at Lamesa, North Plains GCD at Dumas, Sandy Land UWCD at Plains, and South Plains UWCD at Brownfield.
 
These groundwater conservation districts do not receive any funding for the program, but provide in-kind services to assist with water conservation efforts.