Contact: Parry Klassen, CURES

(559) 325-9855

 

Gabriele Ludwig, Almond Board of California

(209) 765-0578

 

Almond Industry Works to Meet Water Quality Regulations 

 

 

(Aug. 7, 2006, Modesto, CA) - - The recent decision to extend the Conditional Ag Waivers for Irrigated Lands program for five years will allow almond growers and other irrigators to continue seeking cooperative solutions to water quality concerns as they arise, according to the Almond Board of California.

 

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted in July to extend the Irrigated Lands Program for five years. It added a deadline for landowners to join regional watershed coalitions or face requirements to get individual waste discharge permits. Landowners who discharge irrigation water have until the end of 2006 to sign up for a coalition in their watershed area or face the costlier alternative.

 

Gabriele Ludwig, the Almond Board’s senior manager of global technical and regulatory affairs, said the Almond Board will continue working with watershed coalitions, regulators and other industry groups to develop best management practices and other workable solutions to address water quality issues.

 

“We support the work the coalitions are doing to identify and promote best management practices to almond growers when problems are identified,” Ludwig said. “Almond growers are poised to make changes to address water quality concerns that are linked to their orchards, and the Regional Board’s recent decision will give us the stability and opportunity to continue the work already being made in this effort.”

 

In its decision to extend the waiver for five years, the Regional Board also placed more stringent reporting requirements for coalition monitoring results that show exceedances of water quality standards and announced it could add groundwater to the program as soon as 2008, according to Parry Klassen, executive director of the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES).   At its August 2006 meeting, the Regional Board will also reconsider a requirement passed in June that mandates Coalitions to automatically develop sub-watershed management plans when water sampling indicates a problem caused by irrigated agriculture.

 

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