Opinion: One Water District is Trying to Make Sure Agriculture Cleans Up Its Own Mess

A Central California water board is poised to do something rare in American agriculture: It is trying to establish enforcement mechanisms — not just toothless regulations — to limit the use of farm fertilizers that contribute to dangerous levels of groundwater pollution. If the effort is successful, within a few decades it will have reversed or at least stopped adding to the pollution of groundwater beneath the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.

OPINION: California Must Stop Agriculture From Fouling Our Drinking Water

The San Jerardo housing cooperative in Salinas is home to 60 farm workers and their families. I am its general manager.

The people in my housing cooperative breathe pesticides when neighboring fields are sprayed. When agricultural practices harm wildlife, we see the change in our backyards. The people of San Jerardo also have a stake in moving toward more sustainable agricultural practices.