September 26, 2013

Water Board approves Settlement in   2012 Central Coast Ag Waiver  

By Norm Groot, Executive Director, Monterey County Farm Bureau

Modifications were made to final draft during lengthy State Water Board hearing in Sacramento on Sept. 24th

Monterey County Farm Bureau attended the hearing held to finalize the order of settlement, passed unanimously by the four commissioners present.

A brief overview of the modifications that were inserted into the final order:

Norm Groot

          •   Growers are required to submit their Annual Compliance Form by October 1st, 2013, using the same version of the form from 2012's reporting cycle.  Additional reporting requirements are NOT added to this filing cycle. 

          •   Tier 2 and Tier 3 growers will be required to report their Nitrate Reporting Risk Level by January 15th, 2014.  Growers will report this on their Annual Compliance Form (as an additional module to be added by CCRWQCB staff; no other portion of the form will need to be reported or updated with this reporting requirement.  Growers will have a full two months to do this reporting after CCRWQCB posts the module on their website).

          •   State Water Board staff proposed the reporting of nitrogen in irrigation water by concentration; Board member Steven Moore was persuaded by the “environmental justice” and “enviro” comments that this information should be reported in pounds instead; the rest of the Board agreed with this change.

   A number of modifications were included that affect the cooperative groundwater program and the monitoring of domestic wells and the use of statistical projections of these wells. 

   Language for containment structures was modified to include more iterative practices to 'avoid' percolation of constituents to the groundwater basin.

A final version of the document will be issued by State Board staff in the coming week.

The environmental jusice and enviro groups expressed, again, their extreme displeasure with the revisions and the Ag Waiver in general.  We may see further action by these groups challenging the order of settlement.

Growers are encouraged to complete their Annual Compliance Form filing by October 1st. 

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