There are some proposed regulation changes that could have big effects on growers.
The irrigated lands regulatory program is managed by Central Valley regional water boards, which has developed a program that covers both surface water and ground water quality.
The state’s water board, which had jurisdiction over regional water boards, was petitioned by environmental justice groups that claim the Central Valley’s water board’s regulations were not stringent enough. The state water board has released proposed changes to the irrigated lands regulatory program to address some of the concerns that were expressed by the petitioners.
Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig says those changes were not only unneeded, but could be a problem for growers.
She says among the changes – the automatic release of some information to the public and classifying some areas as highly vulnerable, whether they are or not.
She also says there are two fundamental flaws with the proposed changes.
She says the purpose of an environmental regulator is to make a difference in the environment, but what they’ve proposed will not make a difference to the environment.
The other fundamental flaw – she says the changes were simply not based on the idea of what regulations will make a difference in ground water quality – which is what the regulations are supposed to do.
She also points out a third issue. She says it’s a lot of data collection without anyone at the state level who is prepared to analyze and review the data that comes in.
Ludwig encourages growers to not only attend upcoming public meetings, but to speak on why the changes should not be made.
Information about the upcoming meetings is available online.