Program will support rural communities and wildlife while helping to develop sustainable water supplies
September 28, 2022
As California suffers through a third year of severe drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on September 27, that dedicates $40 million to the Department of Conservation’s Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program.
Established last year with an initial $50 million, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program helps farmers and agricultural communities adjust to reductions in groundwater use by creating new benefits for people and wildlife on previously irrigated lands. The program requires prioritizing projects that benefit disadvantaged communities and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers for funding.
The Department of Conservation approved the first round of grants for the program in May to five agricultural counties after receiving applications for two times the funding available. The Department also selected Self-Help Enterprises and Environmental Defense Fund as the new “Statewide Support Entity” and assist the program’s block grantees with planning, project implementation, and community engagement services.
Land repurposing is one of many strategies needed to help communities make the difficult transition to using less water and the demand for this program will only increase as the drought persists.