The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Coast Region (CCWB), is responsible for the protection of water quality in California’s central coast region, which includes approximately 538,940 acres of irrigated farmland in nine counties. CCWB currently regulates discharges from irrigated agriculture under its Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program using a permit called a conditional waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs). CCWB intends to replace the current permit regulating discharges from irrigated lands in the central coast region (commonly referred to as “Agricultural Order 3.0”), thereby establishing “Agricultural Order 4.0”. The new permit established under Agricultural Order 4.0 would be WDRs rather than a waiver of WDRs, and thus would not be subject to a time limit.
Horizon Water and Environment assisted the Department of General Services and CCWB in the preparation of a draft environmental impact report (Draft EIR) to provide an up-to-date, transparent, and comprehensive evaluation of the environmental effects that could occur from implementing Agricultural Order 4.0. The Draft EIR was publicly reviewed in spring and summer 2020. A Final EIR is anticipated in 2021.