Regional CropSWAP Program Provides Financial Assistance to Help Growers Irrigate Efficiently

  • May 15, 2024

The Regional CropSWAP (Sustainable Water for Agricultural Production) was developed with the goal of enhancing efficiency for agricultural water users in western Riverside and northern San Diego Counties by offering financial assistance for transitioning away from high-water-use and initiating best management practices to foster sustainable water use. The program is designed to help growers overcome financial and technical obstacles by helping them implement efficiency improvements.

CropSWAP offers financial incentives for the following types of projects:

Crop upgrades:

  • Avocado rootstock upgrades — removing mature avocado trees on an irrigation block and replacing them with young trees grafted to disease-resistant and salt-tolerant rootstocks
  • Avocado tree stumping — performing tree stumping on an irrigation block-by-block basis

Irrigation efficiency upgrades:

  • Uniformity improvements — upgrading equipment for more efficient water distribution (new pipes, sprinklers, pressure regulators, drip irrigation, etc.)
  • Soil moisture sensors — installing soil moisture sensors that provide real-time data to optimize irrigation
  • Automated scheduling — using automated irrigation systems to apply the correct amount of water

Best management practices:

  • Nutrient management — installing direct fertilization systems that apply nutrients through the irrigation system
  • Mulching — applying organic mulch to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature and prevent soil erosion
  • Cover crops — planting cover crops that prevent soil erosion, improve soil fertility, suppress weeds and improve water retention

To be eligible for the CropSWAP program, producers must be classified as an agricultural water user and be a customer of one of the following: City of Escondido, City of Oceanside, Fallbrook Public Utility District, Rainbow Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District or Valley Center Municipal District. For a more complete list of eligibility requirements, payment amounts and complete application instructions, view the CropSWAP Program Framework document.

The CropSWAP application is available online.

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