There are many reasons why water quality within the Pajaro Valley watershed important. Some of these reasons include:
Maintaining Pajaro Valley's agricultural heritage requires the availability of water that meets Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) standards.
The Pajaro River drains into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, an offshore zone that is federally protected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Section 303(d) of the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act requires states to identify water bodies that do not meet water quality objectives and are not supporting their beneficial uses. 37 water bodies within the Central Coast are on the State's 303(d) list of impaired water bodies. As a result, Central Coast growers must utilize Best Management Practices (BMPs) to comply with water quality regulation by decreasing chemical and nutrient run off from their properties. Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) are evaluated by Regional Board Staff for impaired water bodies, and a plan for implementing the reduction of the pollutants is developed. In addition, farmers who apply water to irrigate their crops must comply with the Regional Water Board's Conditional Waiver.
For the Pajaro River Watershed, the following TMDLs have been completed by the Regional Board.
Groundwater is the main source of water for residents and farmers in the Pajaro Valley, making groundwater quality very important to monitor. There are three coherent aquifers underlying the Pajaro Valley: the Alluvial, the Aromas, and the Purisma aquifers.
The Alluvial aquifer is most affected by agricultural run off and pollutants, because it is closest to the surface. Overdraft has caused seawater intrusion for all three aquifers and its effects are most pronounced in the Aromas aquifer (the middle ground water aquifer). The Purisma aquifer (the lowest) contains really old, mineral rich water that is not ideal for irrigation.
Please go the PVWMA website for more detailed information on the hydrologic geology of the Pajaro Valley.
See the report prepared by the California Coastal Commission: California’s Critical Coastal Areas State of the CCAs Report June 2, 2006 for more information and links regarding water quality.
CCATF (Central Coast Agricultural Task Force) is dedicated to monitoring the issues that are most important to the livelihood of our central coast agricultural industry. They publish a weekly e-newsletter that contains recent articles on water quality and other issues regarding agriculture.
US Congressman Sam Farr’s letter to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding the Agricultural Waiver.
On March 2, 2011, Central Coast Water Board staff released recommendations for a revised Agricultural Order. Staff’s recommendations (Draft Agricultural Order, Draft Monitoring and Reporting Program, and Staff Report including the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report for the Regulation of Waste Discharge from Irrigated Lands) are now available for public review. The Central Coast Water Board held a public meeting on March 17, 2011 to consider staff’s recommendations. See the public notice for more information. Documents are available at the Central Coast Water Board site.
New Information on the Agricultural Alternative Proposal as Provided by Agricultural Industry Reps:
Draft Agricultural Order for September 1, 2011 Board Meeting
On September 1, 2011, the Central Coast Water Board will continue the public hearing to consider adoption of a revised “Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Irrigated Lands,” (Draft Agricultural Order) and a revised Monitoring and Reporting Program (MRP) to control agricultural discharges of wastes, including nitrate, pesticides, and sediment, to surface or groundwater and to protect beneficial uses of these waters. The Addendum to the Staff Report for the September 1, 2011 Board Meeting, including extra documents accepted by the Board (provided by agricultural representatives), the revised Draft Agricultural Order and MRP are now available for public review and comment.
The Central Coast Water Board is providing an opportunity for interested persons to submit written comments on the Addendum to the Staff Report and the extra documents. The Central Coast Water Board will not accept additional written comments on the Draft Agricultural Order, MRP, Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, or Staff Report.
Written comments must be received by 5:00 pm on August 1, 2011. Late comments will not be accepted into the record for this matter, unless approved by the Water Board Chair. Written comments can be submitted via email to email@example.com or sent via hard copy to:
Central Coast Water Board Attn: Agricultural Order Renewal
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-7906
• Public Notice
• Addendum to the Staff Report
• Attachment 1: Red-line strikeout version of the Draft Agricultural Order with revisions
• Attachment 2: Red-line strikeout version of the MRP with revisions
• Attachment 3: Comparison Matrix and Water Quality/Food Safety Status Update
New Information on the Agricultural Alternative Proposal as Provided by Agricultural Industry Reps On May 4, 2011, the Central Coast Water Board decided to allow new information into the record for the Draft Agricultural Order. This information was provided by agricultural industry representatives at both the March 17, 2011 and May 4, 2011 Board meetings, after the close of public comment period for the Draft Agricultural Order. The Board also instructed staff to evaluate and compare the new information, and present the results of the evaluation and comparison in a subsequent staff report to the Water Board for the September 1, 2011 Board meeting. The new information submitted by the agricultural industry is available at the links below:
On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, the Central Coast Water Board will hold a public workshop at 3:30 PM in Salinas, CA regarding the proposed Draft Agricultural Order. The Central Coast Water Board scheduled the workshop at the request of interested persons to provide the opportunity for Board members, particularly the recently appointed Board members, to become more familiar with the record and to hear comments by the public on the proposed Draft Agricultural Order. In an Order issued on January 9, 2012, the Chair of the Water Board granted the request by the interested persons for the Board to hold an additional workshop. The agenda for the February 1-2, 2012 meeting in Salinas will be posted on the Central Coast Water Board website by January 18, 2012 at the link below:
Additional information on the Agricultural Order Renewal is available on the link below: