The Problem – High Levels of Salt
High levels of salt in waters and soils throughout the Central Valley impair water quality, reduce crop production, affect drinking water supplies, and alter ecological functions and habitats. In the Central Valley, salt concentrations are naturally high in some areas and increasing in many others. Salts are concentrated in water and soils by human activities and evaporation. Salts are also added to the Central Valley from imported water supplies. Activities in homes, farms, businesses, cities, and towns all contribute to the salt problem by adding or concentrating salts. Irrigation, food processing, and municipal water and wastewater treatment are just some of the processes that increase the salt problem in the Central Valley.
Salt Control Program GoalsTo protect the beneficial uses of water in the Central Valley, the Salt Control Program establishes the following goals:
1. Protect high quality water for all beneficial uses by applying appropriate antidegradation requirements for the discharge of salt.
2. Prevent continued impacts to areas identified as salt sensitive.
3. Control the rate of water quality degradation through a “managed degradation” program.
4. Pursue long-term managed restoration where reasonable, feasible and practicable.
5. Achieve long-term sustainability.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When do I have to choose between Option 1 – Conservative Option for Salt Permitting or Option 2 – Alternative Option for Salt Permitting?Once the Basin Plan Amendments are approved and in effect, the Central Valley Water Board will issue a Notice to Comply to permittees and provide permittees with direct instructions on timelines and obligations. According to the Basin Plan Amendments, existing permittees will have no more than six months to inform the Central Valley Water Board of their choice between Option 1 – Conservative Option for Salt Permitting or Option 2 – Alternative Option for Salt Permitting.