Agricultural Water Quality Program

The County of San Diego Agricultural Water Quality Program (AWQ) helps to ensure that our waterways are protected by preventing pollutants from commercial agricultural businesses from entering the County's storm drain system in compliance with our municipal Stormwater permit.

AWQ conducts outreach, inspections, and complaint investigations for commercial nurseries and greenhouse properties to reduce pollutants from entering streets and storm drains.

Water that is released to the streets, gutters, and storm drains in San Diego County is NOT TREATED before it reaches our local creeks, rivers, and ocean. All sources of pollution are prohibited from leaving your site and entering streets or storm drains. Only rainwater is allowed in the streets and storm drains. The County of San Diego Agricultural Water Quality Program supports businesses in their efforts to prevent pollution by offering the resources found on this page. 







----------------Important Updates Below-------------------

State Required Enrollment in Agricultural Order

As of 2016 any and all commercial agricultural businesses operating in San Diego County are required to enroll in the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Ag. Order (GENERAL ORDER NO. R9-2016-0004).

A commercial agricultural business is defined by the Ag. Order as, “Any agricultural business or trade activity, including farms, nurseries, and orchards, that produces crops with the intent to make a profit.”

More information on this state mandate, visit the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Ag. Order Program page.  

All questions regarding these requirements should be directed to the Regional Water Quality Control Board.


County Ordinance

In 2013, the Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted Order R9-2013-0001, which requires the County and other land use jurisdictions in the region to reduce the discharge of pollutants in local waterways.  For agricultural operators, this means that, for example, fertilizer runoff is not allowed in the storm drain system and that they must use Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control for sediment and irrigation water runoff. Read the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Ordinance for the specific requirements. For more information about discharges, visit our FAQ page.


Report Street/Storm Drain Pollution or Irrigation Runoff

1 (888) 846-0800

or e-mail us at

If you have questions about our program or would like additional information, please call:

1 (858) 614-7786

or e-mail us at



Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures

Agricultural Water Quality Program

9325 Hazard Way, Suite 100, MS 01

San Diego, CA 92123, USA


Stormwater Training

Stormwater Training Record Form (pdf)

Stormwater Annual Review Guidelines and Form (pdf)

Pesticide BMP's

Stormwater - Nurseries & Greenhouses

       San Diego County Department of Public Works - Landscaping

        Reducing Nutrient Runoff in the Rainbow Creek Watershed

        Rainbow Creek Nutrient Reduction and Management Plan    

Farming Information

Sedimentation From Agricultural Operations (pdf)