Fertilizer crackdown

State water boards look to reduce chemical use on Central Valley farms

Regional water boards have begun enforcing tighter regulations on the Salinas and Tulare agricultural regions, the two largest in California.

Large amounts of fertilizer and other chemicals used for agricultural purposes have long made groundwater in the Salinas and Tulare Lake Basin regions unsafe to drink, according to the California News Service. But now the state will require management plans for fertilizer application and reducing water use on farms in the two areas in an attempt to reduce the amount of nitrate introduced to water resources.

A report compiled by researchers from UC Davis found chemical fertilizer has contaminated 11 trillion gallons of groundwater in the two areas—enough to fill Lake Shasta eight times—affecting drinking water for about a quarter of a million Californians.