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Bishop announces additional AWEP funding

ALBANY, Ga. -- Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, announced Thursday that an additional $500,000 in financial assistance has been approved for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program in the Lower Flint River Basin.

"This funding for AWEP couldn't have come at a better time," Bishop said. "These additional funds will prove to be essential to the widespread adoption of these water-saving technologies. Our producers are good stewards of the land; these funds will help them implement more water conservation at a faster rate."

During a recent visit with Bishop to announce the additional funding of $70,000, Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White had an opportunity to also visit a variable-rate irrigation project and was impressed with the potential for increased water savings and the high interest and demand for the program.

As a result of his on-site visit, an additional $500,000 was made available to fund applications this year. The program was initially funded at $1 million; then the additional $70,000 was made available in August of this year. Now an additional $500,000 is available for a total of $1,570,000.

"This project will improve water efficiency by deploying advanced irrigation management practices across 27 counties in Southwest Georgia," Bishop said. "Funded practices include low-pressure drop-nozzle irrigation retrofits with end-gun shut-offs, remote soil moisture monitoring, sod-based rotation and variable rate irrigation."

The AWEP promotes ground and surface water conservation and improves water quality by helping farmers and ranchers implement agricultural water enhancement activities.