The current regulatory system for salts outdated and the existing basin plan does not allow the flexibility to implement regulation in a cost effective manner that protects waterbodies. It does not work for cities, industry, agriculture, the environment, or the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Comprehensive salinity management is needed as part of a near‐ and long‐term sustainable water supply. Evidence of this is that many city or regional wastewater facilities cannot meet current Basin Plan objectives, industry struggles to comply and cannot expand due to salinity limitations, and agriculture is limited or has increased costs due to management of saline waters. These conditions have been evident and worsening since the 1970’s, and have the potential to affect huge parts of California’s economy and environment.
The Central Valley Water supply, used within and outside of the Central Valley, is affected by salinity and nitrates. Some areas of the Valley are switching to alternative water supplies to comply with salinity regulations and crop salinity requirements. These changes are costly and hopefully temporary. Recycled water is an essential new source of water for the Central Valley, but cannot be fully implemented unless its constituent salts and nutrients are carefully managed. CV‐SALTS is the process the State Board requires to develop scientific and regulatory tools to plan manage salinity and nutrients for the Central Valley. CV‐SALTS will then use these tools to prepare a Basin Plan Amendment, with the Regional Board changing the objectives and implementation program for salt and nutrient management. Basin plans are the documents that guide the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s regulation of water quality.