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Contact EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Nonpoint Source Pollution

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A photo of a vineyard.
Farmed lands can be a significant source of polluted runoff, including sediment, pesticides, and nutrients. Planting cover crops in bare areas is an effective way to minimize erosion and runoff and improve water quality.


The State of California is committed to improving and protecting the quality of the State’s waters and their beneficial uses from potential adverse impacts of nonpoint source (NPS) discharges. Since the adoption of the Plan for California’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program Exiting EPA (disclaimer) in 1999, the State has continued to expand and refine its pollution control efforts and activities.

The State’s program is focused on implementing 61 management measures identified in the NPS Program plan by the year 2013. Implementation of the program is carried out by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Exiting EPA (disclaimer) the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs), the California Coastal Commission (CCC), Exiting EPA (disclaimer) and the participating NPS Interagency Coordinating Committee.

Two primary federal statutes establish a framework for addressing NPS water pollution: Section 319 of the 1987 Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 6217 of the 1990 Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA). U.S. EPA oversees the nonpoint source program and provides program funding to the State. U.S. EPA support for the California NPS Program includes:

  • Clean Water Act Section 319 annual funding
    $90 million, 1990 to 2004
    $12.3 million, 2004 (federal fiscal year)
    $8.4 million, 2012 (federal fiscal year)
  • Technical and professional support

Section 319 funds Exiting EPA (disclaimer) are available for NPS pollution control projects through the SWRCB. In addition, other State funding sources in California are available for NPS projects including the State Revolving Fund Loan program, State Propositions 13, 40, and 50 and the Clean Beaches Initiative.

California NPS Program priorities include:

  • Implementation in watersheds with completed total maximum daily loads (TMDLS) and watershed-based plans.
  • Improved monitoring to attain better data to guide decision-making at all levels.
  • Improved use of state regulatory authorities (for example, conditional waivers of waste discharge requirements) to better control the most challenging NPS pollution problems.

Additional Information

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