News story provided by California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno.
On May 23, the State Water Resources Control Board held a public workshop on the UC Davis Report on Nitrate in Groundwater released on March 13, 2012.
The report, which focused on groundwater in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley aquifers, concluded that agricultural fertilizer applied to cropland was the dominant source of nitrate in groundwater; drinking water supplies in small rural communities have been negatively impaired by the nitrate in groundwater largely from agricultural practices, and potential solutions to providing clean drinking water supplies to communities include fees on nitrogen fertilizer use.
The Board received comments from a panel consisting of agricultural representatives and a panel representing environmental justice organizations. The agricultural panel commented on the report’s reliance upon a limited universe of data, imploring the effort take into account nitrate studies from other sources, including the U.S. Geological Survey and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, as well as a call for the study to be peer reviewed.
The presentations from the Environmental Justice representatives implored the State Water Resources Control Board to develop a regulatory mechanism within which to collect fees from agriculture to go towards impaired water mitigation solutions. For more information contact Christopher Valadez
in the League’s office.