DWR Partners with Rancho California Water District to Support Agriculture and Groundwater Conservation


Converted vineyard in Riverside County.

Converted vineyard in Riverside County.

Earlier this year, Rancho California Water District in Riverside County received funding from the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Urban Community Drought Relief Program for two projects that promote agriculture and groundwater conservation in Southern California.


Rancho Water’s agriculture project, CropSWAP, was awarded $5 million and has converted 160 acres of water-intensive plants to drought-resilient and climate-appropriate crops. This program pays agricultural water users to switch to lower-water-use crops to put less strain on water supplies as well as support local farmers. CropSWAP will save nearly 9,000 acre-feet of water per year which furthers the goal of water conservation and sustainability.


Their groundwater storage expansion project includes building a 40-acre recharge pond that can store 10,000 acre-feet of water per year. DWR awarded $6.8 million towards this project which will significantly increase water supply for Rancho Water customers. Groundwater serves as a crucial water supply source for Californians. When surface water supply is low during dry or drought years, the water stored below in aquifers can be used instead. Groundwater is utilized for drinking water as well as supplying water for farms and businesses.


The Urban Community Drought Relief program is one of several financial assistance programs under the “Go Golden” initiative which strives to help communities and water agencies implement projects that address water infrastructure repairs, water conservation, well rehabilitation, and fish and wildlife protection as California prepares for a changing climate. Interested parties can stay up to date with the latest Go Golden announcements, updates and news through DWR’s email subscription list.


For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, visit DWR’s Grants and Loans webpage.