Irrigated Lands Regulatory Workshop - August 21, 2012
An important Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) workshop has been set for August 21 in Tulare to discuss proposed regulations to the Waste Discharge Order that will affect every landowner or operator irrigating agricultural lands in Kern County. We strongly encourage all landowners to attend and voice their concerns.
The CVRWQCB is currently developing a new long-term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program that will include significant changes in how farmers that irrigate their lands are regulated. One of the major changes is a proposal to include regulation of discharges to groundwater. The assumption is that every irrigator is a potential discharger and therefore falls under the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
The format of the hearing will include staff presentations, expert panels of speakers, and later in the day an open comment period for the public. Members of the public will likely have 3 minutes to explain their concerns, questions, and how they are impacted by these proposed changes to the irrigated lands regulatory program. Please help show a large turnout that day and attend.
Key issues pertaining to this proposal include the following:
- Cost: The Regional Board staff estimates the cost of compliance to Tulare Lake Basin growers at approximately $100 million dollars per year ($120 per acre per year). Approximately $115 of the estimated $120 per acre annual cost is associated with implementation of water quality management practices.
- Payment of an annual fee to the SWRCB and compliance costs to the Coalition facilitating compliance with the Order;
- Requirements to hire a Civil Engineer for the design or modification of settling ponds, basins, and tailwater recovery facilities;
- Nutrient planning by certified nutrient management plan specialists in high vulnerability areas, as well as tracking and reporting, with attendant costs for consultants, laboratory analyses, and recordkeeping;
- Significant paperwork associated with preparation of various plans and reporting of farm management practices and other compliance information;
- Access to your farm for inspection, duplication of records, sampling, and photography by RWQCB staff. Access must also be provided for installation of groundwater monitoring wells, if asked;
- An undefined groundwater monitoring program that has the potential of becoming expansive and expensive, and potentially forcing changes to the ways that you farm in order to be more protective of water quality.
- Mandatory participation in third-party outreach events if in a high vulnerability area, or area governed by a surface or groundwater quality management plan;
- Requirement to maintain a copy of the Order at your place of business, and be familiar with its contents;
- Action on the part of either the owner or operator to join the Coalition or confirm membership, once the Order has been adopted.
The CVRWQCB Board Meeting
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Southern California Edison, Energy Education Center (AGTAC)
4175 South Laspina Street
Tulare, CA 93274
Kern River Watershed Coalition Authority
John Schaap, P.E., (559) 636-1166 ext. 504
- Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Notice [PDF]
- Background Information Presented at the last Kern County Grower Meeting