Rubicon Water Newsletter – May 2023

In this issue:

  • Natural life returns to Gila River Indian Community
  • Australian Young Dairy group visits Rubicon in California
  • Now is the time to prepare: Grant funding forecast updates
  • Large Rubicon FlumeGates are produced in Modesto and shipped to a customer in Colorado
  • Romanian and Moldovan delegates visit Rubicon in California

Natural Life Returns to Gila River Indian Community

It was almost like the land was healing itself on the banks of the river!
Stephen Roe Lewis,
Governor of the Gila River Indian Community

Native Goodding Cottonwoods, willow trees, cattails, and other plants, as well as hundreds294 to be exactspecies of migratory birds, are returning to the Gila River Indian Community territory in Central Arizona. 

Much of the territorys verdant agricultural lands had reverted to native desert until 2004s Arizona Water Settlements Act statutorily restored 653,500 acre-feet of water, including 311,800 acre-feet from the Colorado River system.

The water enabled the Gila River Indian Communitys governing council to direct the Pima Maricopa Irrigation Project (P-MIP) to develop the efficient distribution of water throughout the territory which is aided by Rubicon Water technology. To date, the Communitys Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project includes the installation of around 250 Rubicon gates and meters which are remotely operated by a SCADA system.

Rubicon has been working with PMIP on the Gila River project for more than a decade. Quarterly update meetings and various maintenance contracts help to ensure the efficiency of the project.

Gila River is home to members of the Akimel Ootham and Pee Posh tribes, whose ancestors, the Huhugam people, were expert canal-builders and agriculturalists. They call the river Keli Akimel which means Old Man River.

With the return of water, Old Man River is helping to regenerate life. Plants that were literally asleep started to germinate and grow again.

David H. Delong Ph.D, Project Director at P-Mip said: P-MIP is proud to partner with Rubicon to establish state-of-the-art technologies for a new generation of growers who are continuing the agricultural himdag of their ancestors. Rubicon has stood as a critical partner in making sure that the Communitys hard-earned and increasingly scarce water resources are accurately and efficiently measured and recorded to ensure tribal growers operate as efficiently as they possibly can.

Australian Young Dairy Group visits Rubicon in California

Murray Dairys Young Dairy Network of Australia provided an exciting opportunity for young people involved in the local dairy industry to explore the topics of career pathways and succession, on a 14-day Study Tour of the dairying regions of California and Wisconsin.

Part of the tour was a visit to a Rubicon automated gate installation, to learn how automating the delivery of agricultural water benefits farmers.

The tour was part of a 12-month structured program focused on developing individuals at both a personal and professional level within the dairy industry.

 The tour focused on highlighting career pathways regionally, nationally and internationally, as well introducing them to a peer network.

 

Photos: The Australia Young Dairy Group examine a Rubicon automated farm turnout in Modesto, CA.

Now is the Time to Prepare: Grant Funding Forecast Updates

Many state and federal opportunities are slated to open this summer, and Rubicon wants to make sure you are ready to submit funding applications! The US Bureau of Reclamation recently updated their forecast to show that the Water and Energy Efficiency Grant (WEEG) is expected to open in July of 2023 and their Small Scale Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) is anticipated to open in August of 2023. Rubicon has previously helped numerous districts author their winning applications through these programs, and is prepared to help your district receive funding too!

Idaho state funding was recently announced through the state Water Board’s Aging Infrastructure grant! Their approved schedule indicates two rounds of grant funding availability across 2023, with the first offering scheduled for July and the second in November. Each round of funding will provide up to $12.5 million with individual grants limited to no more than $2 million

Rest assured Rubicon staff will continue to keep you updated on the latest funding opportunities, and any updates to the programs outlined above. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our staff to schedule a time to discuss your project, and how we can assist you to create a winning grant application – WE’RE HERE TO HELP!”

California Department of Food and Agriculture State Water Efficiency and Enhancement
Program Block Grant Pilot

Closes June 19 2023

The SWEEP Block Grant Pilot is a part of the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, which was first developed in 2014 in response to severe drought. SWEEP provides financial incentives for California agricultural operations to invest in irrigation systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Through this Block Grant Pilot solicitation, which will provide funding to organizations to further disburse to agricultural operations, CDFA aims to support regional capacity building and provide opportunities for regional strategic use of SWEEP funding to address local concerns regarding water conservation and water efficiency.

Funding and Duration Up to $40 million will be made available for the SWEEP Block Grant Pilot Program.

  • The maximum award is $5,000,000; the minimum award is $2,000,000.
  • 15% of the awarded funds may be used for direct and indirect costs related to administration of the grant including disbursement of funds to Grant Beneficiaries. o
  • An additional 5% of the award may be used for technical assistance activities as defined by AB 2377 (2018).
  • The remainder of the grant funds (at least 80%) must only be used for the implementation of on-farm SWEEP projects. o The maximum funding that can be made available to a Grant Beneficiary is $200,000

 

For additional information go to:

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/docs/2023/SWEEP_Block_Grant_RGA.pdf

Large Rubicon FlumeGates produced in Modesto and shipped to a customer in Colorado
Rubicon Water Technology Features in a range of WaterSmart grants

Rubicon Water technology is being used by many irrigation districts that have been awarded WaterSmart funding within The President’s Investing in America agenda, which is injecting $140 million to enhance the resilience of the West to drought and climate change.

The funding is being made available through the USBR’s WaterSmart Water Energy and Efficiency program.

Funding for 84 projects in 15 western states will go to irrigation and water districts, states, Tribes and other entities and are expected to conserve over 230,000 acre-feet of water when completed. This is equivalent to 77 billion gallons of water, enough water for more than 940,000 people.

“As we work to address record drought and changing climate conditions throughout the West, we are bringing every resource to bear to conserve local water supplies and support the long-term stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau. “The projects we are funding today are locally led and will support increased water conservation through innovative efficiency measures.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $8.3 billion for Reclamation water infrastructure projects over five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers and wildlife. The investment will revitalize water delivery systems, advance water purification and reuse techniques, expand water storage capacities and complete rural water projects. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing another $4.6 billion to address Western drought.

In the Colorado River Basin, 12 projects will receive more than $20 million in federal funding, resulting in more than $44.7 million in infrastructure investments. Once completed, the projects will result in a combined annual water savings of more than 29,000 acre-feet in the Colorado River System. Another 32 projects selected in California will receive $46.7 million in federal funding. The projects will result in more than $164.3 million in infrastructure investments in the state and a combined annual savings of more than 65,000 acre-feet once completed.

Selected projects include updating canal lining and piping to reduce seepage losses, installing advanced metering, automated gates and control systems, and programs in urban areas to install residential water meters and other water conservation activities.

This funding is part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program, which focuses on collaborative efforts to plan and implement actions to increase water supply sustainability, including investments to modernize infrastructure.

https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/weeg/docs/2023/2023-WEEG-Project-Descriptions.pdf

Romanian and Moldovan delegates visits Rubicon in California

Rubicon had the pleasure of welcoming an impressive group of 19 agricultural, clean energy, researchers,  farmers, and agri-food economists from Romania and Moldova this month.

The tour was organized by a Gabriel Popescu, a Romanian commercial specialist from Bucharest who has engaged with Rubicon for many years.

The headliner of the group was Carolina Novac, the current Deputy Minister of Decarbonization (renewables and energy efficiency) for the Republic of Moldova. And from Romania, Jerca Ionut-Ovidiu, Professor of Irrigation Structures at the Bucharest University of Agricultural Sciences & Veterinary Medicine in Romania.

In total the group spent 2.5 weeks in the central valley of California focused on irrigation technology and solar energy applications over canals.

The Group started their Rubicon portion of the trip in Fresno and made stops at the Turlock Irrigation District and Rubicon’s Modesto facility.

The Turlock Irrigation District presentation was made by Josh Weimer , TID’s external affairs manager, and Bill Penny, project manager for Project Nexus (TID’s solar-over-canal project). Other TID officials also attended.

After a group lunch at Hilmar Cheese, the group traveled to Rubicon’s Modesto facility for a tour and presentation. Rubicon General Manager, Darren McGregor and Rubicon Production Manager, Lisa Leyva, walked the delegates through the FlumeGate assembly line, process and capabilities, production design, and applications. There followed a conference room presentation on Rubicon’s global overview and technology to improve the management of precious water flows, including Total Channel Control (TCC), all of which was translated ‘live’ into Romanian.

Visit Turlock Irrigation District and learn about its various modernization projects including the innovative #ProjectNexus.”