Rice WDR Streamlined and Cost Effective – Vote in June

sunset over the rice fields

Analysis of the Rice WDR compared to other Ag Waste Discharge Requirements shows significant benefit to Sacramento Valley rice growers. At a cost of $1.60 per acre (plus staff), paid for by the CRC out of member dues, the program is the most competitive in the state. Other WDRs range from $4-$7 per acre and must be paid for directly by the grower. 

By focusing solely on rice, the CRC has been successful in tailoring surface and groundwater regulations just to the impacts of the crop. The result is less monitoring. We have also successfully made the case that rice has little impact on ground water due to the anaerobic nature of the crop and heavy clay soils where it is grown. This results in less reporting at the grower level with no Irrigation and Nitrogen Management Plans and no Sediment and Erosion Control Plans, which are requirements for other crops. 

After review of the program, the CRC Board agreed keeping the program within the CRC has significant benefits. Costs, even at this lower level of regulation, continue to increase, however, with projected Rice WDR costs coming in at $1.3 million by 2029.

Combined with reduced acres due to the voluntary agreements and modest increases in other programs and operating costs, we estimate that we will exceed our current assessment rate of $0.15 per hundredweight in just a couple of years.

After careful consideration of these factors, the CRC Board has acted to take a vote to growers and handlers in June asking for an increase in the assessment cap to $0.20 per hundredweight (still split evenly between growers and handlers). Ballots will be mailed by CDFA in June 2020. If successful, we estimate that the CRC can operate another nine years with no change in program delivery. 

Look for your ballot in June.

More WDR Stories

sunset over the rice fields

Drinking Water Supply Well Monitoring goes Online

Drinking water supply well monitoring is a new regulatory requirement for Sacramento Valley growers/landowners starting January 1, 2022. Rice growers in the Sacramento Valley are automatically members of the Sacramento Valley Rice Growers Coalition, with the requirement specific to wells that supply drinking water on parcels where rice is produced. Drinking water supply wells on non-rice parcels receive coverage under the Sacramento River Watershed Coalition. Rice grown in the San Joaquin Valley starts earlier and growers/landowners are directed to the local water quality coalition.*

sunset over the rice fields

Grower Reporting Requirements for WDR Orders

This is the time of year we receive calls asking where to report Farm Evaluations and various other information for the Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order. The WDR Orders were amended in 2018, resulting in changes to the grower reporting requirements. A table listing side-by-side requirements with the Rice WDR and the Sacramento River Watershed WDR, the coalition for non-rice crops, is our effort to provide you with timely information.