As the State Water Resources Control Board evaluates an increase in the fee paid by rice and other Ag coalitions for the Waste discharge requirement (WDR), the Commission is proposing a reduction in the fee our growers pay. The basis of our proposal is an evaluation of the actual time staff spends of the Rice WDR, which is far less that the time spent on other areas with significant ground and surface water programs.
The CRC proposed fee of $0.53 per acre significantly less than the $0.75 per acre currently charged and well below the potential increase to nearly $1.00 per acre.
The rest of Ag is not particularly pleased with our fact –based proposal. If the fee for rice acres goes down, their fee will increase slightly. We maintain, however, that we should only pay for the staff that actually work on the rice program and not underwrite extra staff to address other areas with significant water quality challenges.
In September, the State Water Resources Control Board adopts their new fee structure.