Agriculture

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program

California agriculture is extremely diverse and spans a wide array of growing conditions from northern to southern California. California's agriculture includes more than 400 commodities. The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Across the nation, US consumers regularly purchase crops produced in California. Many of the products are exported to markets worldwide

Water discharges from agricultural operations in California include irrigation runoff, flows from tile drains, and storm water runoff. These discharges can affect water quality by transporting pollutants, including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts (including selenium and boron), pathogens, and heavy metals, from cultivated fields into surface waters. Many surface water bodies are impaired because of pollutants from agricultural sources. Groundwater bodies have suffered pesticide, nitrate, and salt contamination.

To prevent agricultural discharges from impairing the waters that receive these discharges, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands. This is done by issuing waste discharge requirements (WDRs) or conditional waivers of WDRs (Orders) to growers. These Orders contain conditions requiring water quality monitoring of receiving waters and corrective actions when impairments are found. The number of acres of agricultural land enrolled in the ILRP is about six million acres. The number of growers enrolled is approximately 40,000.

For more information on the ILRP, view About the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program across California

Region

Year First Implemented

Estimated Acres of Agriculture

Primary Commodities

North Coast Region

Pending

270,000

Grapes, lily bulbs, potatoes, alfalfa

San Francisco Bay Region

2018

53,000

Wine grapes

Central Coast Region

2003

439,000

Lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries

Los Angeles Region

2005

96,000

Fruit, nuts, nursery stock, cut flowers, vegetables

Central Valley Region

2003

6,200,000

Almonds, rice, tomatoes, grapes

Lahontan Region

Pending

220,000

Alfalfa, managed wetlands, grains, pistachios, wild rice

Colorado River Basin Region

2012

606,000

Alfalfa, citrus, winter vegetables, dates, leafy greens

Santa Ana Region

2016

46,000

Citrus, wheats, various

San Diego Region

2017

70,000

Nursery, cut flowers, avocado, citrus, nuts

Monthly Reports

The State Water Board releases monthly status reports on the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP). The monthly reports provide updated ILRP information. State Board updates are provided monthly while Regional Board updates are provided bi-monthly. To view the monthly reports, visit the ILRP monthly report webpage.

Fee Information

The State Water Board’s Division of Administrative Services’ Fee Branch is responsible for setting and collecting fees for the Water Quality Programs, which includes the agricultural program. The current fee schedule for this fiscal year can be found on the Fees webpage. If you have questions regarding Water Quality fees, please email FeeBranch@waterboards.ca.gov or call (916) 341-5247.

GeoTracker

GeoTracker is a database and geographic information system that provides online access to environmental data. It is the primary tool for tracking regulatory data for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. Water Boards staff use GeoTracker to view and manage data on drinking water sampling, management practices, and additional reported information. Most Regional Water Boards require growers to enroll in the program using an electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) located on GeoTracker. GeoTracker can be accessed online.

Agricultural Water Quality Grants Program

The State Water Board’s Division of Financial Assistance administers the implementation of the State Water Board’s financial assistance programs which includes loan and grant funding for the Agricultural Water Quality Grants Program. The Agricultural Water Quality Grants Program provides funding for projects that reduce or eliminate non-point source pollution discharge to surface waters from agricultural lands. For more information, call the Division of Financial Assistance at (916) 327-9978. Additional grant information is available through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).

Impaired Water Bodies

Listing a water body as impaired in California is governed by the Water Quality Control Policy for developing California’s Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Listing Policy. The State and Regional Water Boards assess water quality data for California’s waters every two years to determine if they contain pollutants at levels that exceed protective water quality criteria and standards. This biennial assessment is required under Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act. To learn more about the impaired water bodies of California, visit the Water Quality Assessment Program webpage.

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