Tulare Lakebed Beneficial Use Evaluation

Evaluation of Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN) and Agricultural Supply (AGR) Beneficial Uses in a Portion of Historical Tulare Lakebed Groundwater

In order to ensure appropriate beneficial use protection, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley Water Board), in conjunction with the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) initiative, adopted an amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Tulare Lake Basin (Basin Plan) removing MUN and AGR designations from a horizontally and vertically delineated portion of the groundwater in the historic Tulare Lakebed. The amendment was subsequently approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on 6 September 2017 and by the Office of Administrative Law on 26 December 2017, the effective date of the Basin Plan Amendment.

The Board completed the multi-year process under which it is evaluated the beneficial uses assigned to surface and groundwaters by the Board's Basin Plans. As a part of that process, the Board:

  • Evaluated whether a portion of the groundwater in the historical Tulare Lakebed (within the South Valley Floor hydrologic unit 558.30, Figure II-1 of the Tulare Lake Basin Plan) actually supported the Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN) beneficial use, and determined it was eligible for de-designation consistent with State Water Board Resolution No. 88-63 (Sources of Drinking Water Policy).

  • De-designated the MUN and Agricultural supply (AGR) beneficial uses in portions of the Tulare Lakebed where those beneficial uses have not been historically supported and/or where those beneficial uses are not currently supported.

  • Considered the adoption of site-specific objectives or the development of subcategories of the AGR beneficial use where a full range of AGR beneficial uses (for example, irrigation of salt-sensitive crops using groundwater) have not historically been supported and/or where a full range of AGR beneficial uses are not currently supported.

  • Considered amending the Tulare Lake Basin Plan to incorporate a framework for evaluating the applicability of the MUN and AGR beneficial uses and associated water quality objectives, including implementation provisions applicable in specific groundwater basins.

2017 December 26 - Office of Administrative Law Approval

2017 April 6 - Central Valley Board Hearing and Basin Plan Amendment Adoption

An Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Tulare Lake Basin to Remove the Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN) and Agricultural Supply (AGR) Beneficial Uses Within a Designated Horizontal and Vertical Portion of the Tulare Lake Bed.

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