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Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program


  • The Water Quality Control Board in conjunction with California Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division will be hosting cannabis cultivation enrollment fairs. Each of the attending agencies will be giving presentations about their permits/requirements followed by time for questions and answer in a group setting. After the presentations, you will have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with agency staff and ask project-specific questions. If you bring the information listed in the attached flier, Water Quality Control Board staff will assist you in applying for the Water Board’s cultivation permit.

  • General waste discharge requirements (General Orders) for limited domestic and small nondomestic wastewater treatment systems are being developed for facilities located within the Lahontan Region.

  • NEW Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment, Staff Information Workshops, Board Workshop, and Public Hearing (Notice)

    The State Water Board is accepting public comments on the proposed updates to the Cannabis Policy, Staff Report and Cannabis Cultivation General Order.

    The comment period ends at 12:00 P.M. (noon) on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Information on where to submit comments and the workshops and hearings associated with this effort is detailed in the Notice. The three draft documents available for public comment are provided below:

    The State Water Board will hold one staff informational workshop and one State Water Board workshop as detailed below.

    State Water Board Workshop**

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018
    Directly following the regularly scheduled State Water Board Meeting
    Not to start before 1:00 P.M.
    Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters Building
    Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, Second Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    ** Oral comments will be accepted and recorded at the Board Workshop and will be entered into the appropriate administrative record.

    Staff Informational Workshop*

    Thursday, November 8, 2017
    4:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
    River Lodge Conference Center
    1800 Riverwalk Drive
    Fortuna, CA 95540

    * The purpose of the staff informational workshops is for State Water Board staff to present information and answer questions on the Draft Cannabis Policy, Staff Report, and Cannabis Cultivation General Order.

    The State Water Board will hold public hearings to receive oral comments regarding (1) the Cannabis Policy, and (2) the Cannabis Cultivation General Order. The State Water Board may adopt each of these items after their respective hearings. The hearings will be conducted as part of the Board’s February 5, 2019, State Water Board meeting. The location and start time of the Board meeting are provided below.

    State Water Board Public Hearing

    Tuesday, February 5, 2019
    9:30 A.M.
    Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters Building
    Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, Second Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Additional information is available in the Notice.

  • The Lahontan Water Board will be hearing an informational workshop item at its July 18-19 meeting in Bishop, California. The board will hear information regarding implementation of the Cannabis General Order within the Lahontan Region. The Agenda includes a link to the Item summary sheet and a copy of the staff presentation.

  • Are you an indoor or outdoor commercial cannabis cultivator? Enroll in the Cannabis Regulatory Program Online! Visit the Cannabis Regulatory Programs Portal to enroll for coverage under the Cannabis General Order.


The Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program addresses water quality impacts from cannabis cultivation and associated activities on private property throughout the Lahontan Region and the Colorado River Basin in Eastern California.  The Program focuses on Compliance Assurance/Compliance Assistance, and Education and Outreach.

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In October 2017, the State Water Board adopted requirements for cannabis cultivation to reduce impacts from discharges of waste and water diversions associated with cannabis cultivation activities. Cannabis cultivation can cause significant environmental damage, including discharges of polluted wastes to surface water and groundwater, erosion and sedimentation of surface water bodies, and illegal diversions of surface water.

The program is designed to meet the requirements of the Lahontan Basin Plan and the Colorado River Basin Plan, the California Water Code, and the Clean Water Act. The Water Boards are the principal state agencies with primary responsibility for the coordination and control of water quality. Cannabis cultivation can contribute to nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, which is the leading cause of water quality degradation throughout California. Many streams in the Lahontan Region and the Colorado River Basin Region are impacted by excess sediment, nutrients and elevated temperatures; and illegal surface water diversions intensify these water quality impacts.

Fact Sheets:

Cannabis General Order Fact Sheet
Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Fact Sheet