From a California Department of Conservation News Release
The California Department of Conservation today announced the award of more than $40 million to regional organizations working to reduce groundwater reliance and create local environmental and economic opportunities through land-use changes. These organizations, which operate in five important agricultural counties, are the first recipients of funding from the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program, part of Governor Newsom’s multi-faceted response to the ongoing drought.
- The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District was awarded $10 million to develop a comprehensive land repurposing program in a groundwater subbasin that has been designated as critically over-drafted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR).
- The Pixley Irrigation District Groundwater Sustainability Agency, which operates in Tulare County and a portion of Kern County, received $10 million to facilitate strategic land retirement, develop habitat resources, and protect and enhance water resources in the Tule subbasin.
- The California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, headquartered in Monterey, was granted $10 million to fund land repurposing work by a broad coalition, including disadvantaged communities and tribes.
- The County of Madera received $10 million in funding to pay farmers to repurpose marginal agricultural lands in three critically over-drafted subbasins with historical groundwater level declines, land subsidence, and groundwater quality degradation.
- Visalia-based Self-Help Enterprises and the Environmental Defense Fund’s California Water team were awarded $2 million grant to provide support for the program’s block grantees with planning, project implementation, and community engagement services.
About the Program The Budget Act of 2021 allocated the California Department of Conservation $50 million to fund groundwater sustainability projects that reduce groundwater use, repurpose irrigated agricultural land, and provide wildlife habitat. For more information, visit the MLRP webpage.