To protect domestic wells, provide drought relief, and create flexibility within the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) process, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is offering a new, short-term land fallowing program in certain Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in critically overdrafted basins.

The underlying goal of LandFlex is to provide immediate drought relief by reducing groundwater use in drought-stricken areas, which will help protect drinking water wells in vulnerable communities.

Under LandFlex, GSAs will work with farmers to identify land to reduce groundwater pumping impacts to nearby dry wells. LandFlex will provide $25 million in block grants to eligible GSAs and farmers will receive financial incentives for each enrolled acre.

The state is focusing the program on small and mid-sized farms as the primary recipients of the financial incentives. Eligibility is limited to farmers with a 3-year average Adjusted Gross Income of $2.5 million or less. The grant limit is $2.5 million per individual grant.

A public comment period is underway regarding DWR’s draft LandFlex Program Guidelines available HERE, and Ag Council will be submitting comments.

Ag Council President Emily Rooney said, “We thank DWR for creating a program that recognizes the flexibility needed for farmers as we plan for climate resiliency, while also reacting to the whims of Mother Nature. As we continue to implement SGMA while facing severe drought, LandFlex will be a critical tool in agriculture’s toolbox.”

January Workshop

DWR will host a workshop on January 19, 2023 for interested LandFlex applicants, and workshop details will be available HERE.  Please email sgwp@water.ca.gov with any questions.