Working Collaboratively to Form Management Zones During Challenging Times

Dischargers subject to the new Nitrate Control Program in the six priority 1 groundwater subbasins are making solid progress toward meeting compliance requirements. The work has gone forth despite the challenges of the pandemic. Efforts have been collaborative and tailored to local needs across varied sectors of interest.


In May, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board mailed Notices to Comply (NTCs) to dischargers in the six Priority 1 groundwater subbasins for the new Nitrate Control Program regulations—Modesto, Turlock, Chowchilla, Kings, Kaweah, and Tule. These areas must provide safe drinking water in areas with high nitrate levels and adopt nitrate management plans beginning in 2021.

Those who discharge in these areas must decide soon whether to comply individually with the new requirements (Pathway A) or join with others in the basin to meet the requirements (Pathway B).

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Notices to Comply for Salt Control Program Mailed January 2021


High levels of salt in the waters and soils of the Central Valley are being addressed as part of the state’s new Salt and Nitrate Control Program. The State Water Resources Control Board approved the Central Valley-wide program as part of its action on October 16, 2019, to amend the Sacramento and San Joaquin Basin Plan and the Tulare Lake Basin Plan. The Basin Plan amendments were adopted by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in May of the prior year.

The amendments constitute the most significant changes in decades to the regulation of salts and nitrates in the surface waters and groundwaters of the Central Valley. They are aimed at ensuring safe drinking water supplies in affected areas, protecting the beneficial uses of water, and offering greater flexibility for compliance among dischargers.

Phased Approach

The Salt Control Program is proceeding in phases. Phase 1 involves development of the Prioritization and Optimization Study (P&O Study), which is a comprehensive study and analysis of sources, management approaches, and projects to reduce salt accumulations and to collect or remove salts. It will take 10 to 15 years to complete. To learn more about the P&O Study, click here.

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Central Valley Salinity Coalition

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