RCD Spotlight: Palo Verde RCD

Palo Verde Resource Conservation District (PVRCD) is a small RCD nestled in the Southern Baja region, with its eastern border meeting with Arizona’s border. For years PVRCD has been working to restore the Lower Colorado River Watershed, and a recent infusion of funds of $3.7 million from Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has revitalized those efforts. 

The Lower Colorado River Watershed has been identified by the USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as a “critical conservation area.” The Colorado River as a whole is used by people for agriculture, municipal water, hydroelectric power, and recreation. 

Palo Verde RCD will be working with University of California Cooperative Extension and the NRCS, among other partners, to conduct a multiyear evaluation on deficit irrigation for alfalfa. The project has implications that include conserving the lower Colorado River by reducing water that is taken from it for agriculture, decreasing costs for farmers by reducing reliance on water and labor, as well as increasing understanding of deficit irrigation for California agriculture as a whole. 

In the larger scope, the project will make protective structural improvements and conserve water through incentivizing deficit irrigation and organic production. These measures will advance drought resiliency, soil health, water quality, habitat conservation, water accounting and critically important regional water conservation efforts in the Colorado River Basin.