Water is always a big subject among farmers, especially during the recent years of drought.
Water quality, though, has been a big topic for decades in farm country. And in the past decade, the rules have become even more stringent.
Here is what the state Water Board says: “A range of pollutants can be found in runoff from irrigated lands, such as pesticides, fertilizers, salts, pathogens, and sediment. At high enough concentrations, these pollutants can harm aquatic life or make water unusable for drinking water or agricultural uses. The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program was initiated in 2003 to prevent agricultural runoff from impairing surface waters, and in 2012, groundwater regulations were added to the program.”
|Growers are required to monitor irrigation runoff.|
Growers that irrigate their crops need to enroll in the state-mandated program. Otherwise, they are subject to hefty fines.What does this all mean? These growers are required to monitor runoff from their land, install monitoring wells and submit reports such as nitrogen management plans.
Meeting these requirements can be an onerous task. Moreover, doing your own groundwater monitoring can be quite expensive.
|Growers follow BMPs to protect the groundwater.|
“Growers are doing the best to their ability to protect groundwater. It requires a lot of effort on your part,” Orvil McKinnis, Westside Coalition project manager told a group of growers during a meeting in Firebaugh.
|Lawn fertilizers can impact waterways.|