Welcome to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region Welcome to the California Environmental Protection Agency
Discharges from Irrigated Lands

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP)

Table of Contents

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Program Background and Overview

A range of pollutants can be found in runoff from irrigated lands, such as pesticides, fertilizers, salts, pathogens, and sediment. At high enough concentrations, these pollutants can harm aquatic life or make water unusable for drinking water or agricultural uses.  The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) was initiated in 2003 to prevent agricultural runoff from impairing surface waters.  Waste discharge requirements, which protect both surface water and groundwater, address irrigated agricultural discharges throughout the Central Valley.

Prior to adoption of geographically-based or commodity based waste discharge requirements, irrigated agriculture lands were subject to a Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (Conditional Waiver), 640 KB, PDF (PDF Info). The Conditional Waiver has been extended beyond its original expiration date by court order, (Decision), 1.01 MB*, PDF (PDF info).

For Growers - Do I need to be in the Program?

All commercial irrigated lands, including nurseries and managed wetlands, are required to obtain regulatory coverage. Regulatory coverage is not required if a property is not used for commercial purposes, or if commercial irrigated lands are covered under the Dairy Program. Options for regulatory coverage include joining a coalition group, obtaining coverage as an individual grower under general WDRs, or obtaining an Individual Permit. The coalition groups work directly with their member growers to assist in complying with requirements by conducting monitoring and preparing regional plans to address water quality problems.

Failure to obtain regulatory coverage may result in the Central Valley Water Board assessing an administrative civil liability against you. Administrative civil liability can run as high as $1,000 per day for every day of violation. Irrigated Lands staff is available to assist you in obtaining the proper regulatory coverage. You can contact Irrigated Lands staff by e-mail at irrlands@waterboards.ca.gov, or by phone at (916) 464-4611.

New Waste Discharge Requirements

The Central Valley Water Board adopted waste discharge requirements to protect both surface water and groundwater throughout the Central Valley. The adopted waste discharge requirements are the product of four years of dialogue among a variety of interested parties, as well as public input received at numerous stakeholder and Central Valley Water Board meetings. Key deliverables under the waste discharge requirements will be tabulated to show current status and link to each deliverable (coming soon). Interested persons who meet with board members must publicly disclose ex parte communication regarding general Waste Discharge Requirements proceedings.

Water Quality

Monitoring and reporting are required to assess the water quality in the Central Valley. The ILRP provides public access to monitoring reports, assessment reports, management plans, and water quality data collected since 2004 under the Program.

Grower Outreach and Enforcement

ILRP staff conducts outreach to owners of commercial irrigated lands to educate them about the program, and to require regulatory compliance when appropriate. The ILRP staff also investigates complaints and pursues enforcement against growers for administrative violations (e.g., failure to submit required reports) and pollution discharge-related violations.

File a Water Quality Complaint (form on the Cal/EPA website)

For information concerning outreach activities (e.g., issuance of Water Code section 13260 Directives or pre-Administrative Civil Liability notification letters), please contact Brett Stevens via email at Brett.Stevens@Waterboards.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 464-4642.

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--Web page updated 11/23/2015