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Irrigation Association welcomes new clean water rule

New definition recognizes the benefits of agriculture, while protecting America’s water

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA (Dec. 20, 2018) — The Irrigation Association welcomes the new definition of “waters of the United States,” which was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on Dec. 11. Once the new rule is finalized, the scope of the Clean Water Act will include the following:

  • traditional navigable waters, including the territorial seas
  • tributaries that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to such waters
  • certain ditches
  • certain lakes and ponds
  • impoundments of otherwise jurisdictional waters
  • wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters

“Growers are implementing new practices and technologies every day to increase productivity, while both conserving and protecting our nation’s water,” said IA Government and Public Affairs Director John Farner. “The Irrigation Association looks forward to working with the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and the greater agricultural community in protecting our nation’s water resources for our and future generations through this new rule.”

The proposed rule states that some surface waters should be regulated by the federal government, while some should be protected under state law. In particular, it preserves state authority over many land features that only carry water when it rains.

“Providing more clarity to producers on the scope of the Clean Water Act will not only lead to better crop management but also more efficient implementation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act rules,” continued Farner. “Through the implementation of this new rule, along with practices such as efficient irrigation and precision agriculture, the irrigation industry stands with our growers and ranchers in providing a safe and reliable food supply, while protecting our environment for years to come.”

Information about the IA’s advocacy efforts and position on issues such as the Clean Water Act can be found by visiting