Basin Plan Program

Lahontan Basin Plan

View or download the current Basin Plan. (Note: Recently approved amendments to the Basin Plan that have not been incorporated into the main electronic text of the Basin Plan are available below in the section "Fully Approved Basin Plan Amendments")

Water quality standards and control measures for surface and ground waters of the Lahontan Region are contained in the Water Quality Control Plan for the Lahontan Region (Basin Plan). The plan designates beneficial uses for water bodies and establishes water quality objectives, waste discharge prohibitions, and other implementation measures to protect those beneficial uses. State water quality standards also include a Nondegradation Policy. Water quality control measures include Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), which are often, but not always, adopted as Basin Plan amendments. See the Lahontan Water Board’s TMDL Program web page for further information.

The Lahontan Basin plan took effect in 1995, replacing three earlier plans. The current edition of the plan includes fully approved sets of amendments adopted since 1995. Chapters and sections of the plan are available in separate files to facilitate downloading.

In addition to the state standards in the Basin Plan, federal water quality standards for certain toxic pollutants apply to surface waters within California, including the Lahontan Region. These standards are contained in the National Toxics Rule (40 CFR 131.36) and the California Toxics Rule (40 CFR 131.37). The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has adopted a statewide implementation policy for the federal toxics standards, including summary tables listing the standards themselves. The federal standards have not yet been physically incorporated into the Basin Plan.

The National Toxics Rule and California Toxics Rule standards differ from federal water quality criteria in that they are enforceable. Federal criteria are non-enforceable, science-based thresholds that can be used in development of enforceable state water quality standards.

A number of other statewide plans and policies contain water quality control measures that apply in addition to those in the Basin Plan. Some of these documents are included in the appendices to the Basin Plan, but others have not yet been physically incorporated into or referenced in the plan. These documents include the following:

Basin Plan Update Process

Basin Plan amendments are adopted following noticed public hearings. Public draft Basin Plan amendments and supporting documents (including California Environmental Quality Act substitute environmental documents) are made available for public review for at least 45 days before Water Board action. Written comments are generally requested to arrive by about 30 days before the Board action date to allow adequate time for preparation of written responses, and for full consideration of all comments and responses by the Water Board. Following approval by the Lahontan Water Board, Basin Plan amendments require further approvals by State Water Board, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), and (in some cases) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Plan amendments take effect following approval by the OAL.

Basin Plan Amendments Under Development

Water Board planning staff’s work usually includes several Basin Plan amendment topics that have not yet reached the public draft stage. Announcements of preliminary public stakeholder meetings, including California Environmental Quality Act scoping meetings for these topics will be posted under this heading.

Tribal and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses

Adopted Amendments Pending Further Approvals

Basin Plan amendments that have been adopted by the Lahontan Water Board and are awaiting approval by one or more other agencies will be posted under this heading.

Triennial Review of the Basin Plan

The 2022 Triennial Review

The 2018 Triennial Review

The 2015 Triennial Review is Water Board staff's recommendations on future planning priorities in the next three years. The Water Board adopted these recommendations during the November 4, 2015 Board Meeting in Barstow.

The 2012 Triennial Review December Staff Report is Water Board staff’s recommendations on future planning priorities in the next three years. The Water Board adopted these recommendations during the January 17, 2013 Board meeting in Barstow.

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Contact Us

If you have questions about the content of the Basin Plan or the amendment process, please contact:

Lahontan’s TMDL / Basin Planning Program Manager
Daniel Sussman
Telephone: (530) 542-5466