The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) solicits a request for applications for Fiscal Year 2016 Agricultural Water Conservation Grants. The total amount of the grants to be awarded under this request for applications by the TWDB shall not exceed $600,000 from the Agricultural Water Conservation Fund. The rules governing the Agricultural Water Conservation Fund (31 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 367) and application instructions are available upon request from TWDB staff.
Summary of the Request for Applications
Solicitation Date (Opening): Date published in the Texas Register
Due Date (Closing): 12:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Anticipated Award Date: June 2016
Estimated Total Funding: up to $600,000
Eligible Grant Amount: not to exceed $150,000 in grant funding for individual projects
Eligible applicants: state agencies and political subdivisions (as defined by 31 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 367).
Contact: Cameron Turner, Agricultural Water Conservation Division, Texas Water Development Board, P.O. Box 13231, Austin, Texas 78711-3231, Phone: (512) 936-6090, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agricultural Water Conservation Grant Categories
Applications must be consistent with the format provided in the Agricultural Water Conservation Grant application instructions. Please contact TWDB staff if you intend to apply. Applications must be in response to one of the following four grant categories:
Category 1: Technical Assistance, Outreach, Education, and Demonstrations
Funding in this category is available for cost-share of activities focused on technical assistance, outreach, and education for agricultural producers. Activities considered for funding might include development of conservation plans, assistance with implementation of on-farm best management practices, training seminars emphasizing agricultural water conservation, and demonstrations of innovative irrigation water conservation technologies. Additional details and the exact scope of the project(s) will be negotiated with the selected applicant(s). Funding recipients must report progress on a quarterly basis and provide a draft and final report upon completion of the project.
Category 2: Agricultural Water Use Monitoring Equipment
Funding in this category is available for cost-share of agricultural water use monitoring equipment. Funding recipients must report water use data to TWDB staff annually for a period of five years following installation of equipment. Annual data reports must include irrigated acreage, crop type, irrigation rate, total water use, county name, geographic coordinates, rainfall totals, and an estimate of water savings as a result of the project.
Category 3: Feasibility Study for Development of a Statewide Evapotranspiration Network
Funding in this category is available to study the feasibility of creating, funding, and maintaining a statewide evapotranspiration network that would promote irrigation scheduling resulting in agricultural water conservation and support other functions of the TWDB by providing critical water-related data. The purpose is to determine the resources required to integrate existing evapotranspiration monitoring stations into a statewide network. The scope of work must include at minimum (1) a study of existing statewide evapotranspiration networks in other states including how they are funded and how data are shared; (2) an evaluation of existing evapotranspiration networks in Texas and how they operate; (3) a determination of the potential water savings and other benefits to potential data users; (4) a thorough description of what would be required to facilitate, construct, operate, manage, and fund such a network in Texas; and (5) how such a network might be expanded over time with limited funds. Additional details and the exact scope of the study will be negotiated with the selected applicant(s). Funding recipients must report progress on a quarterly basis and provide a draft and final report upon completion of the project.
Category 4: Study of Irrigation Efficiency in Texas
Funding in this category is available for a study determining the (1) county-level irrigation application efficiencies, (2) the irrigation practices and technologies currently used by agricultural producers in Texas, (3) the number of acres per county under irrigation by system type, and (4) the level of investment from agricultural producers to improve their irrigation efficiency. Additional details and the exact scope of the study will be negotiated with the selected applicant(s). Funding recipients must report progress on a quarterly basis and provide a draft and final report upon completion of the project.
TWDB is authorized to provide up to $600,000 for Fiscal Year 2016 assistance for agricultural water conservation grants from the Agricultural Water Conservation Fund. TWDB will award these funds through a statewide competitive grants process. TWDB staff evaluates all proposals based upon the specific criteria set forth in this solicitation and application instructions. Unless otherwise specified in the individual grant category, eligible expenses typically include the cost of the capital equipment, materials, labor, preparation, installation, or administration directly associated with implementing and completing a conservation program or project. Overhead or indirect costs are not allowed as an eligible expense for reimbursement through TWDB agricultural water conservation grants.
Application Criteria and Selection Process
Prior to technical review, each application will be screened for completeness and compliance with the provisions of this notice. Incomplete applications and those that do not meet the provisions of this notice may be eliminated from competition. Applications meeting the provisions of this notice will be scored by a technical review panel. To be given priority consideration, the project should demonstrate effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability in the field.
31 TAC Sections 367.8 and 367.9 require that in reviewing an application for an agricultural water conservation grant, the TWDB shall consider the following administrative and technical criteria: commitment of the applicant to agricultural water conservation; benefits that will be gained by making the grant; degree to which the applicant has used other available resources to finance the use for which the application is being made; and the willingness and ability of the applicant to raise revenue and provide matching funds.
Prior to approving a grant, the TWDB must find that the grant funds will: supplement rather than replace money of the applicant, and serve the public interest. TWDB shall include a finding that the grant will assist in the implementation of a water conservation water management strategy identified in the most recent applicable approved regional water plan or state water plan, and further water conservation in the state.
A technical review panel will evaluate the applications using the following criteria: sound and practical approach for implementing project as per the Request for Applications guidelines; application has clear identified tasks, products, and reporting timelines; project staff has the technical expertise needed to carry out the project; and proposed costs estimate (budget) is reasonable and adequately justified.
Ranking criteria may provide priority consideration to applications with the highest local costshare match, largest benefit across a region, and/or number of project cooperators (such as districts and other water authorities; state and other governmental agencies; university researchers and extension personnel; organizations and associations; consultants and private industry; landowners, farmers, ranchers). All applicants must establish a metric for measuring and reporting water savings or improvements in water use efficiency as a direct result of project funding.
Funding and Partial Funding Provisions
TWDB reserves the right to reject all proposals and make no awards under this announcement. In addition, TWDB reserves the right to partially fund proposals by funding discrete activities, portions, or phases of a proposed project. If TWDB decides to partially fund a proposal, it will do so in a manner that does not prejudice any applicants or affect the basis upon which the proposal, or portion thereof, was evaluated or selected for award, and that maintains the integrity of the competition and the evaluation/selection process. The TWDB reserves the right to reject parts of, any, or all applications if staff determines that the application(s) does not adequately meet the required criteria or if the funding available is less than the requested funding. The TWDB retains the right to not award contract funds.
Negotiations with Selected Applicants
The applicable scope of work, deliverables, tasks timelines, and contract amount will be negotiated after the TWDB selects the most qualified applicants. Failure to arrive at mutually agreeable terms of a contract with the most qualified applicant shall constitute a rejection of the Board’s offer and may result in subsequent negotiations with the next most qualified applicant.
Deadline for Submission of Applications
Applicants must submit six double-sided, double-spaced paper copies and one digital copy of completed applications to the TWDB on or before 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. Applications can be directed either in person to David Carter, Texas Water Development Board, Stephen F. Austin Building, Room 610D, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas, 78701; or by mail to David Carter, Texas Water Development Board, P.O. Box 13231 – Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711-3231. Application instructions are available upon request from Cameron Turner, (512) 936-6090, email@example.com, or online atwww.twdb.texas.gov/about/contract_admin/doc/FY16AgGrantsAppInstructions.pdf.