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Tap off, tap on: New program to boost water management for B.C. farmers

The program seeks to improve food security, agricultural production with better water management
Climate change and severe weather in B.C. has had significant impact on the agricultural sector, and the program hopes to improve water storage and supply systems to better withstand against the elements. (Jann Ledbetter)

A new provincial program is set to incorporate leading technology to help maximize water in drought-prone areas of British Columbia.

The program is being administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. to help in remedying water scarcity in the province, according to a news release Tuesday (June 27).

Additional supports will also be considered for areas with the potential for farmland expansion, or if it would boost the agricultural production overall.

The program comes with a price tag of $20 million, and is open to Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers and agricultural producers.

“Clean water, clean soils and high-quality food have a positive ripple effect through a community, and this program will help achieve these for future generations,” Bob Hrasko, chair of the Water Supply Association of British Columbia said in the release.

Several B.C. have experienced climate events that have had adverse effects on water supply and food security in growing season, B.C. Agriculture Council Jennifer Woike, said adding that “farmers and ranchers are leaders in the efficient management of water resources.”

READ MORE: B.C. budget gives emphasis to water management, climate change

The program is cost-shared, and funding will be dispersed for specific aspects of agricultural production needs.

Up to 50 per cent of eligible costs of improving, expanding or constructing water supply systems to farms will be covered for as much as $2 million. Fifty per cent of eligible costs up to $1 million will also be covered for rehabilitating or constructing new water storage systems like agricultural dams.

For agricultural water supply assessments like engineering studies, 75 per cent of eligible costs will be covered for as much as $100,000.

Up to $2 million will be transferred to the Beneficial Management Practices program, also run by the foundation, that supports the agricultural sector for all areas of improving on water storage and supply systems.

Applications for the program are open, and can be found on the foundation’s website. The first review date for applicants is July 31.