The Perris-based Eastern Municipal Water District received a six-figure federal allotment to bolster conservation efforts involving farmers and ranchers amid the worsening drought in California, it was announced Wednesday.
“The consequences of drought have continued to impact farms, ranches and communities across much of the West and other parts of the country,” National Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby said. “Drought is a complex challenge, and our collaboration on WaterSMART is part of our approach to help producers conserve water and build resilience while also bringing important partners to the table.”
The WaterSMART Initiative is part of a collaborative strategy by the NRCS’ parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of the Interior to improve water reclamation and other drought-busting measures by encouraging farmers and ranchers to work more closely with irrigation and water districts on coordinated conservation plans.
The EMWD and McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency in Fresno are splitting a $1.16 million WaterSMART grant.
The agencies’ service areas are listed among the NRCS’ WaterSMART priority locations.
Some of the funding can be used to modernize existing infrastructure to better protect water supplies, as well as convert agricultural land to promote conservation, while minimizing property conflicts stemming from scarce water availability, according to officials.
The EMWD, California’s sixth-largest utility, serves a 558-square-mile area, encompassing Hemet, Menifee, Moreno Valley, San Jacinto, parts of Temecula Valley and Winchester.