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Cannabis Enforcement Unit

Scope of the Problem

The Water Boards are concerned with the diversion and use of surface water and waste discharges that could harm the waters of the State. The following activities and environmental impacts are associated with cannabis cultivation:

  • Unpermitted grading, road construction and culvert crossings
  • Illegal stream diversions and streams drying up
  • Discharge of sediments, pollutants, and human waste/trash
  • Erosion/soil deposition
  • Water contamination from pesticides, rodenticides, fertilizers, and fuels

Click on an image above for more information


The Water Boards are developing a regulatory program to protect waters of the State from harmful activities from cannabis cultivation. The program will prohibit waste discharges from agricultural practices, land clearing and grading activities in rural areas and forests. Permits will cover medical marijuana (Proposition 215) grown on private land. Cannabis cultivation on public lands is illegal and may be subject to criminal prosecution. A permit obtained from the Water Boards does not approve or endorse cannabis cultivation.

Permits: New Information

NEW All cash payments must be submitted directly to the State Water Resources Control Board, not the Regional Water Board. The State Water Board prefers that payments be made by check or money order. Money orders are available in large denominations (up to $1,000) at many retail outlets and post offices across California, and, if used, will expedite the enrollment process. The State Water Board may be able to accept cash payments at its downtown Sacramento location. Cash payments, however, will require additional time and an appointment with the State Water Board's Sacramento office. A delay in enrollment due to the need for a cash payment is not an excuse for non-compliance with applicable enrollment requirements.

For an appointment, please call: (916) 341-5021

You may send payments to:
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 1888
Sacramento, CA. 95812-1888

Best Management Practices for Growers

Policies and Reports

Important Rules for Growers

Water Rights Facts

Contact Information

State Water Resources Control Board
Office of Enforcement
Phone: (916) 341-5272
Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board - Redding
Phone: (530) 222-4845
North Coast Regional Water Quality
Control Board
Phone: (707) 576-2350

California Department of Fish and Wildlife: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/


Discharge of waste to waters of the State without a permit and/or any diversion and use of water without an appropriate water right may be subject to enforcement and possible penalties.