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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2013-13


MESSAGE:   The two regions most active in the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program are the Central Valley and the Central Coast.

MEASUREMENTS  - Data Last Updated on: 

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In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14, the Regional Boards enrolled 739 irrigated agricultural operations, which comprised 139,671 acres of irrigated agricultural land, under a general conditional waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs). This resulted in 55 percent of the irrigated agricultural operators and 66 percent of acreage being regulated statewide. It is evident that Region 5, which covers about 40 percent of the geographical area of the State, has 56 percent of the irrigated agricultural operators and 76 percent of acreage among these three regions.


Many surface and groundwater bodies are impaired because of pollutants from agricultural sources. Discharges from irrigated agricultural lands, from both irrigation flows and stormwater runoff, can affect water quality by transporting pollutants such as pesticides, nutrients, sediment, salts, heavy metals, and pathogens from cultivated fields into waters of the State. Several Regional Water Boards have made significant progress in developing and implementing an Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP), initiated in 2004, to work with the agricultural community to control discharges from irrigated lands. Most of these Regional Boards have adopted a region-wide, general conditional waiver of WDRs to regulate irrigated agricultural discharges. To comply with the conditions of the waiver, irrigated agricultural dischargers implement management measures, monitor water quality, and implement corrective actions as needed to protect water quality. Because each Regional Water Board’s ILRP is in a different phase of development, reporting on the number of acres, as well as the corresponding number of agricultural operations, enrolled will increase as additional Regional Boards adopt general conditional waivers of WDRs for discharges from irrigated agricultural land. Typically farm operators regulated under a waiver participate under a coalition group to implement the requirements of the conditional waivers. The following table includes the names and number of farm operators and acreage under each existing coalition.

Region Order # Acreage Number of Participants Coalition Name
3 R3-2010-0040 420,324 Not Available Central Coast Water Quality Preserve, Inc.
4 R4-2010-0186 78,694 Not Available Ventura County Agriculture Irrigated Lands Group
4 R4-2010-0186 1,675 Not Available Nursery Growers Association-Los Angeles County Irrigated Lands Group
5S R5-2006-0053 8,326 28 Goose Lake RCD Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 544,468 2,500 California Rice Commission Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 1,183,491 7,888 Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 507,489 1,070 Westlands Water District Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 489,732 2,450 Westside San Joaquin River Watershed Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 348,200 3,256 San Joaquin County & Delta Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 716,051 3,908 East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 939,362 3,794 South San Joaquin Valley Water Quality Coalition
5S R5-2006-0053 48,810 62 Buena Vista Coalition
7 R7-2012-0047 131,816 339 Palo Verde Outfall Coalition
7 R7-2013-0002 7,120 24 Bard Unit Coalition Group
7 R7-2014-0046 53,850 Not Available Coachella Valley Irrigated Lands Coalition



Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements
Regional Water Board can formally waive Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) for specific discharges to surface waters that are not subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations provided that certain conditions are met, including that the discharge will not cause or contribute to violations in water quality. An individual conditional waiver of WDRs can be issued directly to an individual discharger. For discharges of a certain type, such as discharges from irrigated agricultural lands, individual or groups of dischargers may enroll under a general conditional waiver of WDRs.

Irrigated Agricultural Lands
Lands where water is applied to produce crops such as land planted to row, vineyard, pasture, field and tree crops, commercial nurseries, nursery stock production, managed wetlands, and rice production that do not currently discharge under waste discharge requirements, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits, or other NPDES permits.


( Page last updated:  10/22/14 )