From Fragmented to Joint Responsibilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Adaptive Water Quality Governance in California’s Urban-Agricultural Interface
2. Research Design and Methods
3. The Cumulative Toxic Brew in the Urban-Agriculture Interface
4. Divergent Laws in Merging Waters
5. Adaptive Legal Frameworks
5.1. Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
5.2. Human Right to Water Act
5.3. Affordable Drinking Water Bill (Proposed)
6. Case Study
“As operator of the MS4, the Permittee cannot passively receive and discharge pollutants from third parties. By providing free and open access to an MS4 that conveys discharges to waters of the U.S., the Permittee essentially accepts responsibility for discharges into the MS4 that it does not prohibit or control. These discharges may cause or contribute to a condition of contamination or a violation of water quality standards. However, discharges from agricultural lands that are comprised solely of return flows and/or storm water are exempt from NPDES permitting. As such, the Permittee is not responsible for these discharges that enter its MS4. The Permittee is responsible for other agricultural-related discharges into its MS4.”
“Water that begins its journey in the relatively undisturbed Gabilan and Santa Lucia Mountains drains farmlands and other cities and developed areas before entering Salinas. Once in the City, water passes through municipal neighborhoods before re-entering farmlands, then flows on to more urban uses. Water flows out of Salinas to re-enter more farmland before draining ultimately to Monterey Bay. On its journey, water flows through several different land uses, some more than once and often through several different jurisdictions” .
7. Conclusions: From Fragmented to Joint Responsibilities
“It is difficult to imagine a legal and policy regime as fractured as that used to govern water resources in the United States. Connected issues are addressed without coordination and authority is divided among federal, state and local entities that have little incentive to coordinate their interrelated actions.”—Robert W. Adler, Professor of Law
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|Scale of Governance||Agency||Goal|
|Federal||1972 Clean Water Act||Regulates water pollution; adopts water quality standards|
|Safe Drinking Water Act||Establishes drinking water standards for contaminants that may cause health effects|
|Endangered Species Act||Prevent extinction, recover imperiled species|
|State (California)||Porter Cologne Act||Comprehensive program to protects water quality in California and the beneficial uses of water|
|Sustainable Groundwater Management Act *||Established long-term, local groundwater management|
|Human Right to Water Act *||Establishes the human right to safe, affordable, clean and accessible water|
|Affordable Right to Water Bill (Proposed) *||A Bill proposed to provide financial assistance to communities that lack safe drinking water|
|Regional (within California)||Conditional Agricultural Waiver||Water pollution control from irrigated lands|
|Basin Plan||Acts as a master quality control planning document, setting beneficial uses and water quality objectives|
|MS4 General Permits||Water pollution control from municipal runoff|
|Scale of Governance||Agency||Responsibilities|
|Federal||U.S. EPA||Regulates water quality through the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and other laws|
|State||Water Resources Control Board||Implement CWA provisions; administers state water rights|
|Department of Water Resources||Oversees state water planning|
|Department of Public Health||Regulates drinking water|
|Department of Pesticide Regulation |
Public Utilities Commission
|Regulates statewide pesticide use |
Regulates water rate structures for private utilities
|Local||Regional Water Quality Control Boards||Regulates water quality|
|Agricultural Commissioners||Local administration of pesticide use enforcement|
|Offices Natural Resources Conservation Districts||Local financial and technical assistance to farmers|
|County Environmental Health Department||Local administration of domestic water systems|
|Municipal governments||Local administration of MS4 General Permit|
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Drevno, A. From Fragmented to Joint Responsibilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Adaptive Water Quality Governance in California’s Urban-Agricultural Interface. Resources 2018, 7, 22. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7010022
Drevno A. From Fragmented to Joint Responsibilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Adaptive Water Quality Governance in California’s Urban-Agricultural Interface. Resources. 2018; 7(1):22. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7010022Chicago/Turabian Style
Drevno, Ann. 2018. "From Fragmented to Joint Responsibilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Adaptive Water Quality Governance in California’s Urban-Agricultural Interface" Resources 7, no. 1: 22. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7010022