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Farmers Conservation Alliance to Expand Availability of Critical Data to Irrigation Communities Across Western U.S.

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), a nonprofit dedicated to modernizing irrigation infrastructure in the American West, announced a $200,000 grant from Google to support its work. This grant builds on prior funding from Google helping the FCA manage accurate, detailed reporting and analysis for farmers, local governments, state and federal agencies and others helping shape the future of water use in Oregon and six other western states.

Last year, Google supported FCA with a $120,000 grant that helped create a data management platform, enabling the organization to better communicate water savings, and efficiencies in real time. Now, the platform is complete, and this additional funding from Google will help FCA organize data that help farmers and other end users meet their goals.

“The stakes have never been higher,” said Julie Davies O’Shea, FCA Executive Director. “The reality of ongoing drought conditions is helping drive investment in water infrastructure, and sharing project successes and valuable data will be key to making sure those investments deliver the right solutions and relief to communities across the West.”

Right now, more than 20% of land in western states is experiencing drought, which studies show is the driest period the region has seen in thousands of years. Since 2014, FCA has been working to modernize aging irrigation infrastructure that serves more than 35,000 farmers and ranchers. This includes implementing modernization strategies that support thousands of acres of productive land and hundreds of miles of waterways.

Through this work, FCA can track water flow and availability, community benefits, environmental benefits, and even data on energy use and general infrastructure resiliency. With this new support from Google, FCA is able to share this information with agricultural water users so they are better informed to make impactful infrastructure changes and upgrades by modernizing their systems.

The funding will also support FCA’s communications to irrigation districts, deploying district portals that will keep irrigation community partners engaged and up to date on project information that they can use to better manage their own operations and upgrades.

“The right data can be a powerful tool for change,” said Kate Franko, Google’s Regional Head of Data Center Public Affairs. “These metrics and the overall work of the FCA will help decision-makers deliver the resources needed to best manage water and make rural communities more resilient in the face of climate change.”

Google has called Oregon home since 2006 with its very first U.S. data center in The Dalles. Since then, Google and Google.org have contributed more than $18 million to support initiatives related to water conservation, economic growth, education, food security, mental health, and others. In 2021, Google announced plans to expand in Wasco County while making progress toward its ambitious water stewardship and carbon-free energy goals.
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