Auburn, Alabama, April 8, 2010 – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett today announced that $1.1 million in financial assistance is available to producers for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). NRCS will begin accepting applications for AWEP on April 12, 2010. The signup period ends on April 30, 2010.
“We must take steps to protect and preserve our water resources, and AWEP provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to improve water conditions on their land,” said Puckett.
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program promotes ground and surface water conservation and improves water quality by helping farmers and ranchers implement agricultural water enhancement activities. Alabama AWEP will focus on the installation of upland storage ponds. Stored water will be used during the summer for irrigation. Practices that will be available include:
• Constructing upland irrigation storage ponds
• Installing pumps and pipelines to fill storage ponds
• Irrigation system improvements or irrigation efficiency enhancements to improve the efficiency of and reduce the energy needs of existing irrigation systems
• Installation of soil moisture sensors and water meters to monitor and improve irrigation efficiencies
AWEP was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and funding comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NRCS administers AWEP by entering into EQIP contracts directly with agricultural producers. Funding for this project was a direct result of a grant proposal by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee, and the Alabama Universities Irrigation Initiative.
More information about AWEP is available on the AL NRCS website