State Water Board Delays Decision on Eastern San Joaquin Draft Order Until Feb. 7

The State Water Board postponed deliberation of its updated agricultural order for the Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed to February 7, when it will consider adoption of the order.
Otherwise known as waste discharge requirements, agricultural orders regulate discharges from irrigated lands, such as sediments, pesticides, and nitrates. The Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed draft order was originally proposed in February 2016. In response to extensive public comment and formal petitions for review, the Water Board released a second draft order in October 2017 that was slated for consideration at its January 23, 2018 meeting. 
The second draft order again attracted widespread public comment, mostly critical of the reach of the order. CCOF submitted a comment to the Water Board requesting that the unique traits of organic farms be considered in rulemaking and that data reporting requirements be scaled back. 
CCOF and other commenters also disagreed with the Water Board’s suggestion that the Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed order be “precedential” and be a template for agricultural orders in all regions of the state.
The Water Board cancelled the January 23 meeting and issued notice that it expects to issue additional proposed revisions to the second draft order prior to its February 7 meeting. Written comments will not be accepted on the revisions, but oral comments can be made at the meeting.
All interested parties are invited to attend the meeting, which will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, in the Coastal Hearing Room of the Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California. To sign up for public comment, contact Senior Staff Counsel Emel Wadhwani by noon on Thursday, February 1, 2018. Individuals are limited to a three-minute comment.
All documents related to this order are online.
For more information on agricultural orders, contact CCOF’s Senior Policy Specialist Jane Sooby.