By Elizabeth Jonasson
Today, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) grower application enrollment period for Phase 2 of the LandFlex Program (LandFlex) will officially reopen at 5 pm. Westlands Water District Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Westside Subbasin is one of 4 GSAs eligible for this second phase of funding. Growers will have access to approximately $10 million in grant funding and be incentivized to limit agricultural groundwater use near domestic wells.
“As the San Joaquin Valley continues to battle the impacts of the recent prolonged drought, we are grateful to provide farmers in Westlands access to grant funding through the LandFlex program,” said Allison Febbo, General Manager, Westlands Water District. “The District will continue to prioritize identifying resources like the LandFlex program so that our farmers can transition their land in the face of an uncertain water future.”
Block grant funding through LandFlex will be made available to growers with a 3-year average Adjusted Gross Income of $2.5 million or less, for each enrolled acre up to 40 acres or 25% of their total acreage, whichever is greater. LandFlex funding must be used for the following actions:
- Provide immediate drought relief by fallowing land for a 12-month period (note: recharge activities are allowed on fallowed land in lieu of cover crops)
- Permanently retire any current and future groundwater overdraft on enrolled acreage
- Land use transition of enrolled acreage (e.g., orchard or row crop removal and planting of cover crops)
To be considered for block grant funding through LandFlex, willing and eligible growers must apply through the Grower Application Portal at landflex.org/apply by the deadline: June 28, 2023 at 5 pm.
A priority for scoring applications will be based on land proximity to domestic wells that have gone dry or are in jeopardy of going dry, within the Subsidence Prone Area or approved recharge projects. Overall process for growers submitting applications in Phase 2 and receiving grant awards:
- LandFlex Grower Portal opens June 14, 2023 at 5pm
- All grower applications will be submitted through landflex.org/apply
- DWR, Technical Assistance Providers and the GSAs will score applications and determine distribution of awards.
You can learn more about LandFlex by visiting: https://water.ca.gov/landflex or https://landflex.org.