His talk followed a presentation by Rick Hoelzel, manager of water resources with the Kings River Conservation District, who gave an update on new regulations coming under the state’s irrigated lands regulatory program.

Hoelzel explained how water quality coalitions have formed to address regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. He said the Southern San Joaquin Valley Water Quality Coalition is readying “templates” it develops along with commodity groups that will report nitrogen use and look at crop, soil, cultural and irrigation practices.

The coalition will coordinate water quality issues along four watersheds and the Tulare Lake Basin: the Kings, Kaweah, Tule and Kern. It has a membership that covers a million acres of farmland.

Hoelzel said a timetable of actions by regulators could be pushed back as court challenges from environmentalists continue to play out.

Schwankl said over-irrigating some trees can lead to leaching of water – and nitrates – beyond the root zone. Under-irrigating can cut delivery of needed nutrients to the root zone. His emphasis was on arriving at uniformity in delivery of water to trees.

Pressure differences in the system can lead to different application rates. The problem can be caused by poor system design, differences in elevation, clogging and friction in pipes and lines. Schwankl demonstrated devices that can be used to measure pressure and called attention to a website that has tips on system maintenance, http://micromaintain.ucanr.edu.

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