What is a Coalition?

A group of agricultural interests and growers formed to represent all “dischargers” who own or operate irrigated lands in the Tule Basin region. See this map for the coalition boundaries.

Tulare Lake Basin Area has about 3,000,000 acres of irrigated cropland that is regulated by the Regional Water Quality Control Board as of September 19, 2013.

I am frustrated and do not want to sign up, what are the consequences?

Call the Regulators for more information about potential consequences – 559‐488‐4396.

Other Coalitions Example: (East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition).

    • Range in Fines for Growers who ignored new General Order: $1,500 ‐ $9,000

As of 3 June 2014, your obtainment of regulatory coverage is 342 days overdue. The maximum penalty for the violation described above is three hundred forty‐two thousand dollars ($342,000) based on a calculation of the total number of per‐day violations times the statutory maximum penalty (342 total days of violation multiplied by $1,000). The Assistant Executive Officer of the Central Valley Water Board intends to issue a Complaint seeking an administrative civil liability assessment against you in the amount of two thousand eight hundred eighty dollars ($2,880) for this violation. This recommended penalty amount is based on information contained in the Central Valley Water Board’s files and takes into account the factors set forth in the State Water Resources Control Board’s Water Quality Enforcement Policy, including your culpability, cleanup and cooperation, history of violations, ability to pay and continue in business, and other factors as justice may require.

Are you a discharger?

The Regional Water Quality Control Board has stated that if you irrigate crops for commercial purposes, you are a potential discharger and subject to this new law.

  • Includes Nurseries and privately and publicly-managed wetlands.
  • Includes any type of irrigation system.
  • Includes Commercial crops that are not yet marketable (i.e. vineyards and tree crops).


  • Does not apply to non‐irrigated rangelands or other permanent non‐irrigated lands (i.e. fallow fields)
  • Does not apply to lands covered by other General Orders, such as dairies or individual discharge permits (e.g. food processors)
What are the benefits of joining the Coalition?
  • Have a middle person between you (grower) and Regulators (like your accountant to IRS) to prepare reports.
  • Third Party provides Outreach and education.
  • Grower can comply with Regulatory Requirements more economically than doing it individually.
  • Provided grower templates (Nitrogen Management Plan, Farm Evaluation, Sediment & Erosion Control Plan)
Grower Requirements

The General Order for the ILRP has been updated and may be updated in the future, which could cause the Grower Requirements to change.

  • Maintain a copy of the General Order at your place of business (digital or hard copy) and be familiar with its contents.
  • Participate in member outreach events (Minimum of 1 per year).
  • Cooperate in requested assistance for groundwater quality monitoring (testing from ag wells).
  • Assistance in development of management plans for water quality exceedances
  • Implement industry best management practices that are protective of surface and groundwater quality for a crop type
  • Maintain annual Third‐Party membership
  • Annual Forms:
    • Complete Farm Evaluation Plan
    • Complete Irrigation Nitrogen Management Plan
    • Complete Irrigation Nitrogen Management Plan Summary Form
    • Complete Sediment and Erosion Control Plan (if applicable)
    • Complete Drinking Well Water Requirement (if applicable)
    • Complete Management Practice Implementation Report (If applicable)
What are the Coalition’s goals?
  • File required reports with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) to provide conditional waiver coverage for members of the coalition.
  • Develop and implement an economical and scientifically valid water monitoring program for area rivers and agricultural drains (as required by the waiver).
  • Spread costs equitably among farm land owners/operators who are coalition members.
  • Communicate to landowners where water monitoring indicates problems and work to solve those problems.
What work has the Coalition already completed?
  • Formed an organization with a Board of Directors and Technical Committee.
  • Submitted a Notice of Applicability application to the Regional Board for acceptance as a Third Party, received approval on February 4, 2014.
  • Held numerous meetings to inform growers of the new regulations.
  • Completed the conditional waiver “deliverable” due …
  • Create reports for the
  • Notify members of requirements due.
  • Provided customer services for landowners with membership and template questions.
How do land owners/operators join the Coalition?

As we are a number of years into the Program, all members must now coordinate with our Admin Staff to become enrolled within the TBWQC.

Once we discuss your situation and confirm your parcel(s) are within the TBWQC Boundary, we will provide a New Member form to you, which once completed we can then enroll you and provide your Member ID.

What are the member dues and what will the membership dues be spent on?

The cost for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $4/acre plus a $100 administration fee, which includes paying the State Water Resources Control Board Fee of $0.75/acre.

The Coalition is responsible to complete

  • Surface Water Monitoring Reports and sampling.
  • Legal fees to obtain non-profit (IRS Code 501 (3)(c)) status for the coalition.
  • Groundwater Quality Reports and sampling.
  • Public outreach, management plans, and help establish best management practices for different crops and irrigation practices.
What if you don’t join the Coalition?

To comply to the State enforced General Order, you may either join a Coalition or file for an individual permit with Regional Board to participate in the conditional waiver as an individual. The cost for filing as an individual discharger can be considerable.

If a grower would chose to do nothing and not comply, the California Farm Bureau Federation estimates start up costs and monitoring for an individual waiver at $10,000 for the first year and $3000 to $6000 annually thereafter for monitoring and reporting

For more information, please go to our ABOUT page, to see all your options pertaining to the Irrigated Lands Regulator Program.

Who is managing the Coalition?

A Board of Directors made up of Board Members from the local irrigation districts (see full list here).

An Advisory Committee to handle day‐to‐day items made up of some Board Members and At‐Large Landowners

The Coalition is a Special Project of the Deer Creek and Tule River Joint Powers Authority

Who is responsible for making the Coalition successful?

The individual members of the coalition. Failure of the coalition to meet deadlines, develop the proper monitoring programs or work to correct water quality problems would mean that individual land owners would be responsible for fulfilling those requirements.

While Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and CURES representatives signed the notice of intent for the coalition, it is the coalition participants who are ultimately responsible for participating in coalition activities and paying their fair share of all costs to carry out the conditional waiver program.

Outside of annual forms, what other commitments are involved in joining the coalition?

Land owner participants must agree to allow Regional Board staff, upon reasonable notification, access onto their property to determine compliance with the conditions of the waiver. Individuals are free to withdraw from the coalition at any time and obtain an individual waiver from the Regional Board.

Can I join any coalition?
  • No – Your parcel must be within the geographic boundary of the Third-Party
  • It is possible that your property may fall into multiple Coalition Boundaries, In that case, you will have to enroll in multiple Third-Party/ Coalitions.
Is the coalition a branch of the Water Board?

No – The Coalition is not the regulator, the coalition represents you the grower (like a co-op).

Similarly, your relationship with your accountant is not a branch of the IRS.

I received a letter from the Water Board, but I do not farm this land?

Note on the Water Board form that this land is “Not Farmed – Not Irrigated” and return to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, 1685 E Street, Fresno, CA 93706.

Replying directly on the Water Board form will provide the Water Board with your Tracking Number and Parcel Numbers. Keep a copy for your records, and sign and date the form.

I am not irrigating any of my land this year but plan to in the next few years, do I need to join now?

You may decided what works best for your situation:

  • You may want to enroll now, list your parcel(s) as zero acres irrigated. At the time of renewal you would only be charged $100 administration fee each year until you start farming. As such time, you would then update your irrigated acres and pay $4/acre.
  • You may not have any plans to replant and irrigate for a number of years. In this situation it would be best to make your membership ‘In-Active’. This means, no fees and no notices from the Coalition. In the event that you decide to plant and irrigate again, you can in ‘Re-activate’ your membership.
Do I report APN Acres or Irrigated Acres?

Growers should only Report and pay for Irrigated acres within each parcel, not total acres.

Please remove acreage amounts that does not have irrigated ag.

For example: your house, shed, roads, etc.

You only pay a fee to the Coalition based on the Irrigated Acres

Is joining a Coalition mandatory?

No. Joining is voluntary, but compliance with the General Order is mandatory.

Please go to the ABOUT Page to see what all your options are.

Is this a tax or program on groundwater pumping?

This Program is only the pertaining to the concern of Water Quality, not supply.

If you have questions about Groundwater Quantity or Supply, please contact your Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) GSA or Irrigation District.

I received an invoice/notice for land I sold, now what?

You may either cross out those parcels and re-calculate the math and submit your renewal


Please contact the TBWQC office

Our staff can then make those changes to your account, and provide a new invoice/notice.

I’m in the process of purchasing additional farmland, what do I do?

Notify the Third-Party Coalition.

There are many scenarios when selling and purchases land. Our staff is prepared to help assist you through the process.

Ideally, changes to grower’s TBWQC membership would be updated during the Open Enrollment period (April-June).

Will my data be kept confidential?

Water quality data is reported to the Water Board in a Township basis (36² miles).

In other words, the Coalition does not provide individual data to the Regional Board. Instead, the Coalition is required to put together an Annual report each year that summarizes the member’s data, per Township. So the Regional Board is provided averages between you and your peers. This data is provided by the members when submitting required forms.

How can I find which coalition is my land is within?

You may view on the Regional Map located on our RESOURCE page.

It may be hard to see which Coalition your property falls within, especially along the borders. Please contact our Admin Staff, and we are happy to assist you.

  • telephone: 559.733.2948
  • email:
What are my options if I don’t join a coalition?

Growers may instead obtain an Individual Permit with the Regional Water Board.

*To review the Individual Permit General Order, you can find that located on our ABOUT US page

To see all the possible options for growers relating to the Irrigated Lands program, please go to the ABOUT US .

What is the Drinking Well Water Requirement?

As of in 2020, a new Drinking Well Water Requirement was enforced for members who have a drinking well on an enrolled parcel are required to test the well for Nitrate levels and submit those results to the Regional Water Control Board. If you do NOT have a well that is used for drinking water, this requirement does not pertain to you.

Please go to the FORMS page to find more information about the Drinking Well Water Requirement.

Is the Drinking Water Well Requirement an Annual Requirement?

This is not a one size fits all type of requirement. What your annual requirement is will be determined by the results of your initial Well Water sample.

There are multiple scenarios that you could happen. If your results fall within a certain range, you will have to submit a well sample annual. If it is above the State Level, you will not have to submit a new sample each year but there are other notification tasks and record keeping for anyone who is drinking from that well.

I don’t know what Labs are near me that can help me complete this Drinking Well Water Requirement. Can you help me find one?

When looking for a lab to complete the Well Sample Testing, you will need to be sure that the Lab is ELAB certified. The Regional Board is requiring that growers use only labs with the ELAB certification when completing this requirement.

There is a list of ELAB labs (created by the Regional Water Board) on the FORMS page.

This document also includes contact information of the Main office of each lab. Most labs also have multiple locations, but unfortunately are not listed on the document. Please check out their website for all their lab locations or ask the TBWQC office.

I want become Self-Certified to sign off my own INMP Plans, how can I do that?

To become self-certified, members need to attend a class and then pass a 30 question test that follows.

The Coalition works with the organization CURES (Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship) to provide these classes. TBWQC strives to co-host 1 to 2 classes a year.

Also note, that once certified, there is also continual education hours/credits that are required to maintain your self-certification.

The CURES website provides a list of Live meetings and Self-Study courses available for you. Go to for more information.