Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program

About the Program

Discharges from agricultural lands, including leaching or runoff of irrigation water and/or stormwater, may carry wastes, including but not limited to salts, nutrients, pathogens, sediments, and pesticides that can affect the quality of waters of the state.

To protect the beneficial uses of the state’s waters, the Colorado River Basin Water Board regulates discharges from agricultural lands. Since 2012, the Colorado River Basin Water Board has adopted either Conditional Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements (Conditional Waivers) or General Waste Discharge Requirements (General WDRs) to control the discharges from agricultural lands in four areas of the Region: (1) Palo Verde Valley and Mesa, (2) Bard Valley, (3) Coachella Valley, and (4) Imperial Valley.

The Colorado River Basin Water Board is in the process of converting all of its Conditional Waivers to General WDRs and incorporating the precedential requirements of State Water Board Order WQ 2018-0002, In the Matter of Review of Waste Discharge Requirements General Order No. R5-2012-0116 for Growers Within the Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed that are Members of the Third-Party Group (Eastern San Joaquin Order).

Palo Verde Valley and Mesa

General Waste Discharge Requirements for Agricultural Dischargers in the Palo Verde Valley and Palo Verde Mesa

On May 15, 2019, the Colorado River Basin Water Board adopted General WDRs for Discharges of Waste from Irrigated Agricultural Lands for Dischargers that Are Members of a Coalition Group in Palo Verde Valley and Palo Verde Mesa (Order R7-2019-0030).  This Order supersedes a Conditional Waiver for agricultural dischargers in the area that had expired. Electronic copies of the General WDRs and its attachments can be found at the following links:

Bard Valley

General Waste Discharge Requirements for Agricultural Dischargers in Bard Valley

On July 11, 2019, the Colorado River Basin Water Board adopted General WDRs for Discharges of Waste from Irrigated Agricultural Lands for Dischargers that Are Members of a Coalition Group in Bard Valley (Order R7-2019-0053). This Order specifically applies to a subset of Bard Valley known as the Bard Unit of the Reservation Division of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Project; it does not regulate tribal land in the Indian Unit of the Reservation Division. The Order supersedes a Conditional Waiver for agricultural dischargers in the area that had expired. Electronic copies of the General WDRs and its attachments can be found at the following links:

Coachella Valley

General Waste Discharge Requirements for Agricultural Dischargers in the Coachella Valley
On November 12, 2020, the Colorado River Basin Water Board adopted General WDRs for Discharges of Waste from Irrigated Agricultural Lands for Dischargers that Are Members of a Coalition Group in the Coachella Valley (Order R7-2020-0026).  This Order supersedes a Conditional Waiver (R7- 2014-0046 with revisions by R7-2019-0049) for agricultural dischargers in the area. An electronic copy of the General WDRs and its attachments can be found at the following link:

Imperial Valley

Imperial Valley Conditional Waiver

On January 15, 2015, the Colorado River Basin Water Board adopted a Conditional Waiver of WDRs for Agricultural Wastewater Discharges and Discharges of Waste from Drain Operation and Maintenance Activities Originating within the Imperial Valley (Order R7-2015-0008). This Conditional Waiver was scheduled to expire on January 15, 2020, but was renewed by the Board on November 14, 2019 (Order R7-2019-0056) and on December 10, 2020 (Order R7-2020-0035). The Waiver will now expire on January 15, 2022. Electronic copies of the Conditional Waiver and its attachments, as well as the Orders of Renewal can be found at the following links:

Board Order R7-2020-0035
Board Order R7-2019-0056
Board Order R7-2015-0008

Resources