Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program

  Enforcement -  Education and Outreach -  Useful Information -  Contact

Growing cannabis? Learn about the State Water Resources Control Board Cannabis Cultivation Program.
Enroll Online Here

For questions about the State Water Board program please contact:

General Order - or 916-341-5580

Cannabis Policy -

Small Irrigation Use Registration - or 916-319-9427


Revised Regional Supplement to the Cannabis Cultivation General Order Monitoring and Reporting Program

State Water Resources Control Board Adopts Environmental Standards for Cannabis Cultivation - On October 17, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted the Cannabis Cultivation Policy - Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy) and the General Waste Discharge Requirements and Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges of Waste Associated with Cannabis Cultivation Activities (Cannabis Cultivation General Order). On February 5, 2019, the State Water Board adopted updates to the Cannabis Policy and Cannabis Cultivation General Order. On April 16, 2019, the Office of Administrative Law approved the updates to the Cannabis Policy.

Statewide Cannabis General Order

Statewide Cannabis Cultivation Policy

Additional information about the Statewide Cannabis Order can be found on the State Water Resource Control Board website.

NOTE: Portal users may experience problems if attempting to use the web browser Safari.

Notices of Applicability (NOAs)
Cultivators are required to provide the California Department of Food and Agriculture CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division with an NOA as proof of enrollment with the Water Boards. Issued NOAs are now available online.

Revised Regional Supplement to the Cannabis Cultivation General Order Monitoring and Reporting Program

A revised version of Investigative Order No. R1-2019-0023 was recently issued by the Regional Water Board. The revised Order includes expanded findings, clarified monitoring and reporting requirements, and it eliminates duplicative water use reporting requirements for Cannabis Cultivation General Order enrollees in the North Coast Region with valid water rights. The revised order is effective January 1, 2021.

Annual Reporting for 2020

Annual Monitoring Reports for the calendar/cultivation year 2020 must be completed and submitted by March 1, 2021. Reports are due for all Tier 1 and Tier 2 sites enrolled under the statewide Cannabis Cultivation General Order, even if the site was enrolled for only a portion of 2020, and even if cultivation did not occur in 2020.

To prepare your Annual Monitoring Report, please go to the Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation Programs Portal and complete the survey titled “Online Cannabis Water Quality Monitoring & Reporting Program.” The survey will only ask questions that apply to your site’s enrollment tier, risk level, and region. Note: Portal users may experience problems if attempting to use the web browser Safari.

If you need assistance completing your annual report, please contact the Cannabis Regulatory Unit at the State Water Board’s Division of Water Quality by email at

2020/2021 Fiscal Year Invoices for Enrollment

In January 2021, cannabis cultivators who enrolled under the statewide Cannabis Cultivation General Order prior to July 1, 2020 will be receiving an invoice for their enrollment during the 2020/2021 Fiscal Year. For questions about your invoice, please contact the Water Boards Fee Branch by phone at (916) 323-0341 or by email at


Planning the replacement, installation, maintenance, or removal of a stream crossing, pond, or point of diversion? How about restoration of a stream, pond, or wetland? An approved Water Quality Certification is required in addition to general enrollment prior to performing any instream work under the Statewide Cannabis Order WQ 2019-0001-DWQ.

Application for Water Quality Certification under the Statewide Cannabis Order WQ 2019-0001-DWQ PDF

Priority Watersheds for Cannabis Permitting and Enforcement

  • Are you ready for Winter? As outlined in the Statewide Cannabis General Order, winterization procedures must be completed by November 15. The protocols for winterization monitoring and reporting vary depending on the risk level status of each site. Enrollees should review the Order for this information to ensure that appropriate winterization procedures are implemented in a timely manner and that necessary information is recorded for inclusion in the Annual Report (due each year on March 1st). Below is a two-page handout containing a summary of winterization monitoring and reporting protocols.

Winterization Protocols for Statewide Cannabis Order

Subscribe to the Cannabis cultivators Email List (Under Water Quality)

Coordinating Agencies

California Department of Food and Agriculture, CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing

Bureau of Cannabis Control

California Department of Public Health, Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California Department of Pesticide Regulation


The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board's role in the inspections is to evaluate compliance with the Basin Plan, the California Water Code, and the Clean Water Act. Regional Water Board staff inspections are focused on compliance assistance and enforcement. Compliance assistance generally is aimed at ensuring those that are required to enroll in the Order do so, verifying tier status, review of conformance with standard conditions and BMPs, and review of adequacy and implementation of applicable water resource protections plans, including treatment schedules. In the event of violations identified, the Regional Water Board undertakes appropriate enforcement actions.

Staff is offering compliance inspections. These inspections offer education about the Order and compliance assistance to landowners already enrolled or anticipating enrollment under the Order. To request an inspection, please contact one of our staff people listed at the bottom of the page.

The North Coast region participates in ongoing interagency inspections in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Office of Enforcement, State Water Board Division of Water Rights, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The inspections are generally prioritized to focus on subwatershed areas where there are identified cumulative effects and a concentration of probable operations conducting cannabis cultivation and associated activities.


It is essential for the North Coast Region to enforce water quality laws, the Basin Plan, requirements, permits, and orders so as to attain healthy watersheds, effective regulation, and strong partnerships. Consistent and effective enforcement, which includes compliance assistance, is necessary to deter practices that could lead to violations; to promote justice; to reduce the incentive for an unfair economic advantage of noncompliance; to safeguard the public trust; and to protect and restore beneficial uses of water.

If you are engaged in cultivating marijuana on private land, whether as owner, lessee, or operator, enrolling in the Regional Water Board's Order and being able to demonstrate a valid water right to the Division of Water Rights may be required. If you do not obtain the appropriate permits, you may be subject to administrative and/or judicial civil enforcement. If you cause, or threaten to cause, harm to water quality, you may face civil liabilities and be required to clean up the property at your own expense. The unauthorized diversion or storage of water is subject to further and separate civil liabilities and compliance orders by the Division of Water Rights.

Consistent with the enforcement policy, the Water Boards use a progressive enforcement approach that utilizes limited enforcement resources efficiently and effectively. Progressive enforcement is a general concept whereby enforcement actions can range from informal actions to very formal, depending on the extent of violations, history of non-compliance and other factors. An informal enforcement action can be a simple verbal contact by staff that brings a violation to a landowners' attention and provides the opportunity for compliance. If the landowner's response is unsatisfactory, staff may escalate their enforcement. Based on the landowner's first response, staff may opt to take no action, follow up with site visit(s) to confirm compliance and/or provide technical assistance, or continue with more enforcement. For serious violations, staff may send a Notice of Violation and request a written response.

At this stage, a case may be evaluated for Administrative Civil Liability (i.e., financial penalties) or other formal enforcement measure. Formal enforcement actions are generally reserved for the most egregious of violations. Formal enforcement actions could include Notice to Comply (for example with Order R1-2015-0023 requirements); required submission of technical reports; issuance of Cleanup and Abatement Orders if you cause, or threaten to cause, harm to water quality; Time Schedule Orders; Cease and Desist Orders; Modification or rescission of the Order requirements; and Administrative Civil Liabilities.


The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board takes complaints, conducts complaint inspections, and can conduct follow-up enforcement. Individuals filing a complaint have the option to remain anonymous. To file a complaint, you may do so on line at:

State Water Resources Control Board Cannabis Programs

The State Water Board is developing and implementing new regulatory programs to address potential water quality and quantity issues related to cannabis cultivation and to meet the directives of Senate Bill (SB) 837 (Statutes 2016, Chapter 32, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) and the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. 

Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach are critical components to water quality protection efforts in the North Coast.

Regional Water Board Education and Outreach

The Regional Water Board's recent outreach and education efforts include:

  • Distributing brochures to individuals, supply stores, partner agencies, and interested third party entities with general information including Water Board staff contact information and the need for a permit, the potential for water quality impacts from cannabis cultivation and related activities, and enforcement in relation to discharges of waste and improper water diversions.
  • Attending and speaking at public outreach events relating to cannabis cultivation discharges;
  • Providing general information via presentations and informational meetings to specific interest groups, including environmental groups, governments, grower associations and third party entities; and
  • Being interviewed on public radio and in print media.


Non-Profit Education and Outreach

The following non-profit entities* provide resources, education and outreach in the North Coast region for various land management practices relevant to cannabis cultivation operations or other operations with similar environmental effects:

*The above list is by no means exhaustive or inclusive. Please check back on this web page throughout 2015 and 2016 for updates.

Useful Information



Other Available Resources

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q: What is my site WDID?
A: This is a number that we will assign to you upon receipt of your application, so upon initial enrollment, you can leave this blank. A WDID number does not necessarily reflect a complete enrollment.

Q: How do I find my HUC12?
A: You can find your HUC12 by using the HUC-12 subwatershed online interactive map via EcoAtlas (Go to "Overlays" tab to select "Hydrologic Regions (HUC12)," go to the "Basemap" tab to select the desired basemap, and zoom to your site to identify the 12-digit HUC code for your subwatershed)

Q: How can I verify if my enrollment is complete?
A: You can check the Facilities-At-A-Glance Report to see if your enrollment is “active”:

Water Board Contacts

Please subscribe to the email listserv to stay informed on the latest North Coast Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program developments:

If you have questions about the Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program, please contact :
(707) 576-2676