California's San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley. (Credit: Amadscientist, via Wikimedia Commons)
A new water monitoring order requires farmers to tend to the heavily contaminated aquifers in California’s Central Valley, KPBS reported.
Issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board, the order affects about 7,200 farmers working 3 million acres of land. Existing agricultural coalitions will monitor both ground and surface water, in addition to evaluating the water conservation practices of individual growers.
The order aims to solve the ongoing problem of nitrate contamination in California’s groundwater. A study from the University of California, Davis, shows that 96 percent of the contamination originates from agricultural land, nitrate leaching from chemical fertilizers and livestock manure.
Farmers are generally opposed to the new regulations, claiming that they are too expensive. State water regulators, however, estimate that the required changes will cost less than $2 per acre.
Image: California’s San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley. (Credit: Amadscientist, via Wikimedia Commons)