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Clean water funds available for Wadena

The Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been awarded a grant through the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Clean Water, Land and Legacy Constitutional Amendment funding, according to a press release sent to the Pioneer Journal.

The purpose of the grant is to provide cost-share to encourage agricultural irrigation producers to convert their high or medium pressure irrigation systems to low pressure systems, and adopt an irrigation water management system. These two practices have been proven to help reduce the potential for groundwater contamination.

The conversion from a high or medium pressure irrigation system to a low pressure system improves the efficiency of water use through the system by decreasing the evaporation rate of the water being applied. This reduces the draw on the groundwater resource by an estimated 25-30 percent. The reduced pumping also reduces energy use by an estimated 10-35 percent, depending on the type of system.

By adopting an irrigation management system like the irrigation scheduler program, producers use "in the field" soil moisture status to assist them with deciding if and when to irrigate. Weather conditions, rain events, irrigation events, crop type and crop stage are all used to determine the amount of water being used by the plant. When used properly, this program prevents crop loss, reduces ground water contamination, and reduces the amount of water being pumped from the aquifer. The proper use of this program can nearly eliminate leaching events caused by over irrigation.

Producers who are interested in converting a high or medium pressure irrigation system that has been in operation for at least two of the last five years should contact the Wadena SWCD. For more information, call 218-631-3195 ext. 4.