Sutter Mutual Water receives $1M for irrigation improvements

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Sutter Mutual Water Company is set to receive a $1 million grant for irrigation efficiency improvement, water saving technology and automated water delivery systems. 

The grant was established as part of President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide water and energy efficiency grants to eight western states.

The projects will primarily assist in evening water levels within Sutter canals. This will provide a better distribution of water to over 46,000 acres of land in Sutter County.

The grant will provide approximately half of the funds needed to complete the water efficiency projects, said Roger Cornwell, general manager for Sutter Mutual Water Company. Because this irrigation system primarily distributes water to farmland within Sutter County, property owners who benefit from the improved system will be funding the other half of the project.

“This project is possible because of this grant. It’s a 50/50 cost share with the Bureau of Reclamation. Once we were able to secure that grant, we were able to move forward,” Cornwell said.

Cornwell estimated that the projects will be completed in six months with one month allocated to contracting labor within Sutter Mutual Water and local contractors. The grant stipulates that recipients complete their projects within three years of receiving funds.

Adding improvements to the current irrigation system will be a beneficial upgrade in ensuring that landowners both receive and save equitable amounts of water, Cornwell said.

Cornwell does not currently have an estimate for how much water Sutter County will save with these projects, but the U.S. Department of the Interior anticipates over 12 billion gallons of water will be saved annually in states receiving these grants.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide $25.5 million for the WaterSMART grant which will help selected states safeguard water supplies and combat on-going droughts.

“The WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants will help communities conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the production of hydropower and help us tackle historic drought,” Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said in a statement.

Five other water districts in California are set to receive up to $2 million to fund other water infrastructure projects, along with districts in Colorado, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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