Reclamation District No. 108, winner of the 2008 Regional Directors’ Award from the US Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, began a creative incentive program to help engage farmers to conserve water on the farm.
In recent years, the District has introduced a number of conservation programs intended to reduce the amount of non-beneficial use of water at the farm level. The benefits to reducing wasted can be seen in reduced pumping costs for the District as well as improved water quality in both the supply and drainage canals. Farmer participation is rewarded with rebate incentive.
RD 108 is surrounded by levees that has to pump water into the district and pump all tailwater and stormwater out of the district. Therefore, actions to reduce drainage also reduce pumping and electrical costs for the District. RD 108’s Water Conservation Program compensates water users who take actions that help reduce District diversions or drainage water and their associated costs. The District offers several programs and invites new suggestions for water saving opportunities.
Listed below are the Water Conservation Actions:
PROGRAM A. REDUCED SPILL DURING THE MAINTENANCE SEASON
The District only allows minimal spill from rice fields during maintenance flooding by limiting the spill to the amount of water that can flow through a notch in a wooden board (shown above) without flowing over the board. Program A saves up to 50% of the water spilled during the maintenance period for rice, approximately 1/2 cubic-feet per second or 1 acre-foot per day. The District periodically monitors each field’s drainage and a penalty is issued for users who spill more than the minimal amount.
PROGRAM B. ELIMINATION OF SPILL DURING THE MAINTENANCE SEASON
Program B is an optional program similar to the Program A, but eliminates drainage spill completely by using plastic or dirt to prevent water from exiting the field during the maintenance season. Program B saves approximately 1 cubic-foot per second or 2 acre-feet per day, and in 2014, Program B gives participants a $2 per acre rebate.
PROGRAM C. REDUCING VOLUME WHEN DRAINING A FIELD
The District does not allow excess water to be applied to a rice field before draining for harvest. Program C requires all rice water users to shut off water at least 4 days prior to draining, which can save up to 0.1 acre-feet per acre at the end of the irrigation season.
PROGRAM D. PURCHASE OF WATER BY VOLUME
Water users may purchase district irrigation water by volume delivered. To participate in the program, a water user must have a District approved flow meter installed that must be read and recorded at least once per week. The price for water by volume in 2014 is $15.15 per acre-foot.