State OKs new water rules for farmers

The Fresno BeeSeptember 19, 2013 

Irrigation begins in a furrowed-field that will soon be seeded to grow silage corn west of Visalia. State water regulators approved landmark groundwater rules Thursday for 850,000 acres of farmland in the Central Valley.

FRESNO BEE STAFF — Fresno Bee file photo

State water regulators approved landmark groundwater rules Thursday for 850,000 acres of farmland across Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties.

About 7,200 growers will be regulated in the program, which is part of a larger effort called the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Monitoring Program.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board met in Fresno Thursday for a day-long public hearing before voting. The hearing covered details of previous meetings and workshops over the last year.

Each farm must go through an evaluation. Areas with a history of contamination problems will have to do additional monitoring and paperwork. That might include drilling monitoring wells, hiring consultants and testing water.

The San Joaquin Valley's underground water is known for nitrate contamination, which comes from fertilizers, septic systems, sewage treatment and decaying plants. University of California at Davis researchers last year found 96% of the problem comes from agriculture.

Farmers have long worried about the cost of the new regulations. State water regulators estimate it will be less than $2 per acre, but farm water leaders figure it's a range from $3 to $10 per acre.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6316 or mgrossi@fresnobee.com.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service