Recent policy updates
On April 6, 2021, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop a new planting ordinance for the Paso Basin Land Use Management Area. Visit the project site for more information.
On August 24, 2021, the Board of Supervisors extended the termination date for the Agricultural Offset Requirements from January 1, 2022 to August 31, 2022.
New or expanded irrigated crop production - Agricultural Offset Requirements
On October 27, 2015, the Board adopted Resolution 2015-288 that amended County Code (Title 22) to require new and/or expanded irrigated crop production to obtain an Agricultural Offset Clearance from the Department of Planning and Building to minimize further depletion of groundwater levels.
Click here to see the current agricultural offset requirements in the County Land Use Ordinance (Section 22.30.204).
Within the Paso Basin, there is a subarea called the "area of severe decline" that has more stringent restrictions. Click here for a map. If your property is in the Area of Severe Decline per the Land Use Ordinance, then your property is not eligible for the 5 AFY exemption for new irrigated crop production.
There are three main scenarios for how this ordinance may affect a property:
1. If there is existing irrigated crop production on site within the 5 years preceding the application date, the property can be replanted in the same crop type and acreage with an Ag Offset Exemption. Planting new or expanded crops would require an On-Site Offset Clearance showing the new crop would use the same amount of water as the existing crop, or less.
2. If there is not existing irrigated crop production on site within the 5 years preceding the application date and if the site is not within the "area of severe decline", new irrigated crop production may be allowed with a one-time Ag Offset Exemption to plant crops that use up to 5 acre-feet per year of water (e.g., 4 acres of vineyard).
3. If there is not existing irrigated crop production on site within the 5 years preceding the application date and if the site is within the "area of severe decline", then there are no options for new or expanded irrigated crop production under the current ordinance.