The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (“CVRWQCB”) adopted new waste discharge requirements within the Tulare Lake Basin area on September 19, 2013, in order to protect ground and surface water from irrigated agricultural discharges. The area impacted by the new requirements includes farmland in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties. The requirements apply to farmers in the region who join an approved third-party group or coalition. (Those growers who do not join a coalition will be directly regulated by the CVRWQCB, and will be subject to higher costs.) Under the new rules, farmers will be required to report their water quality protection practices to their respective coalition. Growers who have not already implemented practices that protect water quality will be required to improve their practices. All growers will be required to prepare nitrogen management plans. Farmers whose land lies above the most vulnerable groundwater aquifers must submit information to the coalition on their nitrogen use efficiency. The coalition will prepare technical reports, conduct required studies and monitoring, and submit reports to the Central Valley Water Board on behalf of the growers.
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