CV-SALTS Initiative: Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Efforts to Tackle Salinity and Nitrate throughout the Central Valley and Who Needs to be Involved
Accumulation of salts in soil and surface and groundwater supplies continues to negatively impact water quality and quantity throughout the state, and is of particular concern throughout the Central Valley. Researchers have found if salinity increases at the current rate until 2030, the production of goods and services in California could be reduced from $5 billion to $8.7 billion a year. In terms of job losses the increase in salinity by 2030 could cost California 34,000 to 64,000 jobs. To address these concerns, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) is moving forward with a stakeholder-driven effort to develop a comprehensive salinity and nitrate management program for the entire Central Valley region. The Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) initiative was launched in January 2006 after the Central Valley Regional Water Board and the State Water Board held a joint workshop to receive information on salinity and nitrate in the Central Valley. The goal of CV-SALTS is to develop a comprehensive region-wide Salt and Nitrate Management Plan (Plan). The Plan will be developed and implemented through amendments to the three water quality control plans that cover the Regional Water Board?s jurisdictional area, which include the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Basin Plan, the Tulare Lake Basin Plan and the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers Delta Plan. This comprehensive basin plan amendment will involve 1) the review of all surface and groundwater basins through the region to expand the listed water bodies and to confirm, revise or add designated beneficial uses of water bodies currently listed or added; 2) the review and establishment of applicable water quality objectives to meet the beneficial uses, and 3) to establish a comprehensive implementation plan to achieve the water quality objectives. The stakeholder CV-SALTS Initiative is the Central Valley Regional Water Board?s primary mechanism to conduct the necessary studies, research and develop technical and science reports to develop all components of the basin plan amendment and to implement the Plan once it?s adopted by the Board. Due to the complexity and far-reaching impacts of the Plan, the Regional Water Board has determined that any and all users of Central Valley waters, within and outside of the Regional Water Board?s jurisdictional area are considered stakeholders for this Plan. The Regional Water Board believes all stakeholders should be very involved in the development of basin plan amendments that could affect the use designation and quality of Central Valley waters they use. In July 2008, the non-profit Central Valley Salinity Coalition (CVSC) was formed to work in partnership with CV-SALTS. A key role of CVSC is to organize, facilitate and collect funding for the efforts needed to develop and implement a salinity and nitrate Plan in the most efficient and effective manner throughout the Central Valley. CVSC was formed in a similar format to the Southern and Northern California Salinity Coalitions. The Regional Water Board supports CVSC?s efforts and continues to strongly encourage more active participation in CV-SALTS.