Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Update

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWB) has begun conducting outreach and educational meetings between interested stakeholders, as well as the overall public, on their recently proposed order.  The East San Joaquin WDR Proposed Order is a draft regulation that will essentially eliminate all of the work being done through the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  The changes made to the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program through this Draft Order include the re-designation of all areas within California as Highly Vulnerable to groundwater threats, the power to collect and organize Farm Evaluation Plans and Nitrogen Management Plans no longer sits with the Coalitions and that same information will be submitted directly to the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWB), as well as require wells that supply drinking water to communities to be monitored continuously.  These changes directly affect the functionality of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, and also add a significant burden to the Regional Water Board to collect and store all of the data.

Pursuant to the release of the draft Proposed Order, watershed coalitions have begun meeting with SWB representatives in an effort to find some ways to push back.  WAPA also took the opportunity to voice concerns over recent actions by meeting with Pamela Creedon, Executive Officer for the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Creedon voiced as much concern over the proposed changes and the adjustments that her department will need to make in order to satisfy their burden in receiving this information.  The Association then took the time to meet with Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Board.  Marcus took a more defensive stance of the proposed order, stating that she felt confident the Board would be able to handle the changes the proposed order creates.  The Association has also found opportunities to participate in Coalition led meetings, which focus primarily on the areas of the proposed order that can be challenged and possibly thrown out.  Comment letters for the ESJ Proposed Order are due by May 18th. A public workshop will be held at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District on May 17th, if you would like to participate or attend the public workshop, feel free to contact the Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin.