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Drought Relief Actions

On April 7, 2017, pursuant to Executive Order B-40-17, Governor Jerry Brown lifted his drought emergency declaration for all of California, except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne Counties. As a result, effective April 7, 2017, the Districtís drought relief measures, which are based on the Governorís drought emergency declaration, will remain in effect only for Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties.

Emergency Drought Relief Measures for Dust Control at Construction Sites

Recognizing that reasonable actions to accommodate drought relief efforts in the Valley are imperative in averting the public health crisis faced by Valley residents and communities experiencing shortages of drinkable water, the District is issuing this advisory to implement changes to the Districtís enforcement policies regarding water-dependent dust control requirements of Regulation VIII at construction/earthmoving operations during the drought emergency. Click here to read the advisory.

Electrification of New Irrigation Wells

Please click the following link for the application form to install a temporary diesel-fired engine on a new irrigation well planned for electrification: Electrification-Engine Application Form

Please click the following link for information regarding the electrification of new irrigation wells:
Compliance Assistance Bulletin (CAB)

State Eases Requirements for Water Well Drilling Rigs

The District has confirmed with the California Air Resources Board that water well drilling rigs used for emergency purposes, such as for drought relief activities during the current Drought State of Emergency, can operate in California regardless of the engine tier level or the state in which the drilling rig is registered!

Two-Engine Water-Well Drilling Rigs
We have confirmed with the state Air Resources Board that two-engine water well drilling rigs may operate in California during the Governorís declared state of emergency (regardless of engine tier level and State of origin), provided owners or operators comply with the recordkeeping, reporting, and notification requirements detailed in the links below:

For more information regarding two-engine drilling rigs call ARB staff at (916) 324-5869.

One-Engine Water-Well Drilling Rigs
We have confirmed with ARB that one-engine water well drilling rigs may operate in California during the Governorís declared state of emergency (regardless of engine tier level and State of origin), provided owners or operators comply with the recordkeeping, reporting, and notification requirements detailed in the links below. Note that initial reporting and designation for the low use exemption must be completed within 30 days of beginning operation under these emergency provisions:

For more information about single engine drilling rigs, call ARB staff at (866) 634-3735.

The full ARB information and notification requirements can be found at the following page:

The Governorís Office of Planning and Research is coordinating the stateís drought relief efforts. Comprehensive information on Californiaís drought related actions can be found at:

Emergency Measures to Assist with Drought Relief Actions by Water Districts and Farmers

The Governing Board, in recognition of the severe potential air quality and economic impacts of the drought, adopted a series of measures designed to assist farmers and water districts with emergency drought relief efforts. Please click the following links for the Drought Relief Governing Board Item and the Drought Relief Governing Board Presentation.

Calendar year 2013 was the third year of the current drought and was the driest year in the 119 years that official rainfall records have been kept in California. On Jan. 17, 2014, Gov. Brown declared a drought emergency for all of California, and the recent brief periods of rain have fallen far short of replenishing reservoirs and rebuilding snow packs. The state of emergency remains in place.

The District has been approached for assistance with unusual drought-related situations several times in recent months. Water delivery systems are being modified to move water in ways not previously considered, water-well drilling activity is at an all-time high, and water used for dust suppression is becoming scarcer. Among the potential air quality impacts on the Valley discussed are increased particulate emissions from significantly increased fallowed land and reduced water for dust suppression; the potential for overwhelming air quality impacts from wildfires; and increased NOx and other pollutants from internal combustion engines used for irrigation, and for municipal and agricultural water transfers. Regarding economic impacts, one water agency industry group estimates up to $5 billion losses to the Valleyís agriculture economy, in direct costs to farmers and associated indirect losses to farm workers, processing plants and other ag-related economic sectors.

In light of these impacts, the Governing Board:

  • 1. Directed staff to implement the following measures developed by the District to address air quality requirements related to drought-relief projects during the current emergency:
    • a. Expedite permitting processes for temporary installation of generators to produce power to run electric pumps for which the utility has not yet been able to deliver electric service.
    • b. Expedite local portable equipment registration options for projects failing to find suitable engines under the state portable equipment registration program.
    • c. Enter into and execute timely Voluntary Emission Reduction Agreements (VERAs) to mitigate air quality impacts from urgent drought relief projects, upon APCO approval and Governing Board Chair signature.
  • 2. Authorized the Chair to send a letter to governor supporting requests by lead agencies under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to expand the governorís Drought Emergency Executive Order to waive CEQA requirements for specific drought-relief projects.
  • 3. Directed staff to support water districts and farmers by providing material assistance, education, and consultation in finding cost-effective and expeditious options to satisfy applicable air quality requirements.
  • 4. Directed staff to work with affected agricultural operations to promote the use of currently available, less water-intensive measures to comply with the Districtís Conservation Management Practices (CMP) regulations, to develop additional dust-control measures, if necessary, and to work with the agricultural community to streamline methods to revise existing CMP plans.
  • 5. Authorized the Executive Director/APCO to investigate potential streamlining changes to the Districtís Portable Equipment Registration rule, as necessary for emergency actions, and to prepare such amendments for the Governing Boardís consideration through an expedited rule-development process.

The District has issued a Special Advisory regarding Emergency Drought Measures available for Agricultural Operations.