HPWD Accepting AIM Program Funding Applications

For the next three weeks, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) is accepting applications for cost-share funding for the third round of its Assistance in Irrigation Management (AIM) program. The enrollment period ends Sept. 25.

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

HPWD now enrolling producers for 2018 Irrigation Assessment Program

Producers enrolled in the Irrigation Assessment Program will receive water level measurements at the beginning and end of the growing season, as well as ultrasonic flow rates on wells and irrigation systems in the program. 

Producers enrolled in the Irrigation Assessment Program will receive water level measurements at the beginning and end of the growing season, as well as ultrasonic flow rates on wells and irrigation systems in the program. 

The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District is now enrolling producers for participation in its 2018 Irrigation Assessment Program.

Since the program's reinstatement in 2013, cooperating producers have volunteered to have their center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system evaluated by HPWD staff. Water levels in wells are measured at the beginning and end of the growing season. In addition, flow rates of the wells/irrigation systems are checked with an ultrasonic flow meter. This service is provided by HPWD at no cost to willing participants.

The pumping hours, total gallons of water per minute, and the number of irrigated acres are calculated to determine the total acre-inches of groundwater applied during the growing season.  Rainfall totals are determined through the use of  radar estimates from April to September. This gives an estimate of the total inches of water available for plant use.

Water samples are also collected as an extra service to those participating in the program. HPWD is able to check Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), chloride, and pH levels of groundwater. It is important to understand water chemistry since it impacts the efficient use of supplemental nutrients applied to crops.

All this information is used to better understand the groundwater conditions in aquifers within the HPWD service area. 

For example, the 2017 program participants' well data reveals an average depth-to-water of 216 feet and an average flow rate of 110 gallons per minute. The average amount of irrigation water applied in 2017 by program participants was 6.6 inches for cotton, 9.9 inches for wheat, 10.5 inches for peanuts, 11.8 inches for silage, and 12.2 inches for corn.

All information gathered from each site is shared with program participants. Several producers have said the data has helped them better understand their irrigation system's performance.  

High Plains Water District encourages all interested producers to participate in the 2018 Irrigation Assessment Program. There are two major benefits. First, it helps farmers understand how much water is used per year for crop production. Second, it provides beneficial data for future water planning efforts where accurate irrigation pumping information must be considered.