Press release: Money available for water conservation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Mexico announce the availability of $1.5 million to conserve the water in the Ogallala Aquifer.

The NRCS will fund this initiative through its Environmental Quality Improvement Program, said Dennis Alexander, state conservationist for NRCS New Mexico.

“The NRCS in New Mexico is doing its part to resolve the Ogallala Aquifer depletion issue,” he added.

According to Scotty Savage, District Conservationist for the NRCS Portales Field Office, applications will be accepted through the close of business on June 4.

“The funds will be obligated by July 2, 2010,” Savage said.

Based on the crop planted, an average 120-acre circle of land can consume approximately 1.2 million gallons of water annually. Converting from crop-producing to permanent grassland provides substantial water savings.

This is an opportunity for irrigated producers in Roosevelt County to benefit from the EQIP special funding to reduce pumping from the aquifer. Producers may qualify to enter into contracts to convert irrigated lands to grasslands for livestock production and wildlife habitat. The acres enrolled will be required to disconnect the irrigation wells on that acreage.

For more information, contact the NRCS office at 356-4465, extension 3, or visit the NRCS New Mexico website at http://www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip.html.