Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program
You can receive irrigated lands program updates by e-mail.
Subscribe online: Agricultural Discharges
Are you a grower who needs help with the Agricultural Order? Frequently Asked Questions and Sample Forms are available. See Grower Workshops and Resources below.
Changes to Section-C: Groundwater Nitrate Loading Risk Determination of the Annual Compliance form for the September 1, 2014 - August 31, 2015 reporting period must be completed in GeoTracker by no later than midnight of August 31, 2015. All risk determinations of “high” after August 31, 2015 will be required to report Total Nitrogen Applied forms by October 1, 2015.
Total Nitrogen Applied Reports are due October 1, 2015. Tier 2 and Tier 3 farms/ranches that have a “high” groundwater nitrate loading risk at Section-C of the Annual Compliance Form are required to submit a total nitrogen applied reports. The 2015 Total Nitrogen Applied Report form will be posted on our website soon.
Items for Discretionary Review - State Board Order WQ-2013-0101 identifies specific items related to implementation of the Agricultural Order for which interested persons may seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. Interested Parties have 30 days to request review. See Items for Discretionary Review below.
Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Overview
The Central Coast Water Board regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands to protect surface water and groundwater, using a permit called a Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements that applies to owners and operators of irrigated land used for commercial crop production. The Central Coast Water Board is focusing on priority water quality issues, such as pesticides and toxicity, nutrients, and sediments – especially nitrate impacts to drinking water sources. Staff is prioritizing efforts in the major agricultural areas of the region - the Salinas River, Santa Maria, and Pajaro River watersheds.
- Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Operational Measures
- Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Contacts
- State Water Board's Agriculture - Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Website
On March 15, 2012, the Central Coast Water Board adopted an updated Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (Agricultural Order No. R3-2012-0011). On September 24, 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Order WQ 2013-0101 which upheld the Agricultural Order with modifications. The Order and Monitoring and Reporting Program are available at the links below. Growers can view which Tier their farm is in by accessing their eNOI in GeoTracker. Growers can also download the “5-Year Compliance Calendar” in the Grower Workshops and Resources section below.
IN SUMMARY, GROWERS MUST DO THE FOLLOWING TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS:
1. Enroll in the Order by filing an electronic-Notice of Intent (eNOI)
2. Develop and Implement a Farm Plan
3. Implement management practices to protect water quality
4. Conduct Surface Water Receiving Monitoring and Reporting (Cooperatively or Individually)
5. Conduct Groundwater Monitoring and Reporting (Cooperatively or Individually)
6. Install Backflow Prevention devices
7. Submit Annual Compliance Form (Tier 2 and Tier 3 ONLY)
8. Conduct Individual Discharge Monitoring and Reporting (Tier 3 ONLY)
9. Develop and Implement Certified Irrigation and Nutrient Management Plan (Tier 3 ONLY)
10. Develop and Implement Water Quality Buffer Plan (Tier 3 ONLY)
Agricultural Order, R3-2012-0011
Tier 1 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-01
Tier 2 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-02
Tier 3 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-03
How do I enroll in the Agricultural Order and identify my farm/ranch tier?
Enroll Agricultural Operations and Farms/Ranches - electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI)
All owners and operators of irrigated land used for commercial crop production must submit an electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) to enroll their operation and all individual farms/ranches. In addition, owners and operators must keep the information in the eNOI complete and up-to-date. Growers can also view which Tier their farm is in by accessing their eNOI.
Click here for more information and a link to the Electronic NOI Submittal and Update Tool.
Farm/Ranch Tier Review
Growers may request that Water Board staff review the tier assigned to their individual Farm/Ranch if the grower determines that the farmer/ranch meets the criteria for a specific tier, other than the tier that was assigned, because the tier that was assigned was based on incorrect information.
To request a Tier Review, growers must submit a completed Tier Review Request Form, including any necessary documentation. The Farm/Ranch will remain in the assigned tier and must comply with the requirements for that tier until such time as the Executive Officer notifies the growers that the farm/ranch tier has been changed. Tier Review Requests are an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review. See Items for Discretionary Review below.
Tier Review Request Form
Note: The Agricultural Order also provides that a grower may submit a request to the Executive Officer to approve transfer to a lower tier based on a lower level of waste discharge and lower threat to water quality. For these requests, see page 17, Part A. Condition 18 in the Agricultural Order.
Annual Compliance Form
Growers with Tier 2 and Tier 3 Farms must also submit an Annual Compliance Form. The Annual Compliance Form is available online and can be accessed with the electronic-Notice of Intent (eNOI) by logging into GeoTracker. Instructions and sample form are available below in the Grower Workshops and Resources section.
How do I terminate my enrollment in the Agricultural Order?
Terminate Enrollment - Notice of Termination Forms
If you no longer own or operate irrigated land for commercial crop production and which to terminate coverage under the Agricultural Order for your operation, you must update your electronic Notice of Intent and complete a Notice of Termination. In addition, the owner or operator must notify the succeeding owner or operator of the existence of the Agricultural Order by letter and provide a copy of to the Water Board.
Notice of Termination - Operation
Notice of Termination - Individual Farm/Ranch
The Agricultural Order and MRP provide landowners and operators the option to comply with groundwater monitoring requirements by either sampling groundwater wells individually on their agricultural operations, or by joining a groundwater cooperative monitoring program approved by the Executive Officer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the individual and cooperative groundwater monitoring options (including cost and responsibilities). Individual landowners and operators should evaluate the options carefully and choose the option that best fits their specific situation.
The Executive Officer has approved the following two cooperative groundwater monitoring programs:
1. Central Coast Cooperative Groundwater Coaltion (CCGC)
- CCGC Work Plans for Northern and Southern Counties - Dated 11/01/2013
- Executive Officer Approval for CCGC Northern Work Plan – Dated 07/11/2013
- Executive Officer Approval for CCGC Northern Work Plan, Revised – Dated 12/17/2013
- Executive Officer Approval for CCGC Southern Work Plan – Dated 12/18/2013
- Executive Officer Approval of CCGC October 9, 2014 Proposal to Provide Member Information to the Central Coast Water Board – Dated 12/8/2014
For more information, see the Grower Resource Document for Approved Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Programs.
The Executive Officer’s approval or denial of a cooperative groundwater monitoring program is an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review. See Items for Discretionary Review below.
Water Quality Monitoring Data
- Agricultural Regulatory Program - Cooperative Monitoring Program Reports
- Irrigated Agriculture Program Cooperative Monitoring Fact Sheets
- Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc (CCWQP) manages the Cooperative Monitoring Program (CMP) on behalf of irrigated agriculture throughout the Central Coast. The CCWQP Executive Director is Kirk Schmidt, at (831) 750-5449, and the Technical Program Manager is Sarah Greene Lopez, at (831) 331-9051.
- Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program (CCAMP): Monitoring Program
- CCAMP - Agricultural Surface Water Assessment Summary
- Report on Surface Water and Groundwater Quality Conditions in Agricultural Areas
- GeoTracker – Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program
- Executive Officer’s Determination to Approve or Deny Tier Changes
- Executive Officer’s Determination to Require a Transfer to a Higher Tier
- Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of a Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program
- Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of A Third Party Project or Program
A list of items for Discretionary Review since September 24, 2013 is provided below. Interested Parties will be allowed 30 days from the date of the document identifying the action to seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. Interested Parties seeking discretionary review of the above items must send their request to:
Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
Attention: Board Chair (c/o Executive Officer)
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
List of Items for Discretionary Review - Updated July 7, 2015
Agricultural Regulatory Program EnforcementAdministrative Civil Liabilities:
- Central Coast Water Board Proposes Fines Ranging From $2,070 to $19,410 to Six Farming Operations for Alleged Violations of the Irrigated Lands Agricultural Order
- Central Coast Water Board adopts Stipulated Administrative Civil Liability imposing $60,000 fine on Bradley Land Company
- The Central Coast Water Board Issues $7,455 Administrative Civil Liability to Pacifico Azul, Inc
- The Central Coast Water Board Issues Four Administrative Civil Liabilities $3000 - $14,000 (2/10/2009)
- Enforcement for Failure to Comply with Monitoring and Reporting Requirements - 5/5/2011
- Enforcement for Failure to Update Enrollment Information - 9/19/2011
Technical Assistance ProvidersSeveral organizations such as the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), RCDs (Resource Conservation Districts), UCCE (UC Cooperative Extension), Farm Bureaus, and other nonprofit organizations are available to provide technical assistance to growers regarding management practices implementation and guidance through enrollment and other Ag Program requirements.
Technical Assistance Providers
Private Industry Consultants
Central Coast Irrigation and Nutrient Management Program