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- 11th Annual Ethics Forum
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Fall 2013 A Greater Vision - Third in a three year conference series on water quality regulation in Salinas Valley agriculture.
Thursday, October 24
2 - 4:30 P.M.
University Center Ballroom
The Challenge of Water Quality in Ag: When we get it right, what will right look like?
In March 2012, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board passed a new set of regulations, known as the “Ag Waiver,” tightening water quality standards for agricultural runoff and imposing planning, measurement, documentation, and reporting requirements for growers.
The Ag Waiver was a step in a long process of discussions and conflict regarding agricultural practices on the Central Coast and water quality issues of nitrate, pesticide and turbidity pollution. On the one hand, it is clear that there are severe water quality issues on the Central Coast, and that agricultural production practices are primary contributors to these problems. On the other hand, the Central Coast is the home to more than $5 billion worth of food production for the United States and abroad, producing some 70% of the country’s lettuce and 30% of its strawberries, along with many prize-winning varieties of grapes for wine production.
In this series of A Greater Vision conferences, we have explored these issues and looked at regulatory and other responses to simultaneously protecting water quality while maintaining the important food production of the Central Coast. In this final session of the series, we will explore initiatives that have been undertaken to solve these problems. Our objective is to try to point the way to approaches that might be followed in the future to provide needed food, support the agricultural cornerstone of the Central Coast economy, while maintaining and even improving the state of the environment.