Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation
Welcome to the Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation Program webpage. This program, which is now in effect, was approved and put into the state’s regulatory code by the Office of Administrative Law on December 18, 2017. The Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation Program has four main components to address potential water quality and quantity issues related to cannabis cultivation. More information on the program components can be found below.
Please visit the Cannabis Cultivation Outreach page for more information.
NEW! 2018 Cannabis Program Review & Assessment Report Now Available
In June 2019, the Water Boards’ Cannabis Program finalized its 2018 Program Review & Assessment Report, which provides highlights of the Program’s accomplishments in 2018, discusses internal and external challenges the Program has faced, and recommendations to improve Program effectiveness.
The status of the proposed recommendations is also available (last updated July 1, 2019).
NEW! Updates to the Cannabis Policy effective as of April 16, 2019
On February 5, 2019, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the proposed updates to the Cannabis Policy – Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation under Resolution No. 2019-0007. The updates were focused on requirements related to tribal buffers, indoor cultivation sites, onstream reservoirs, and winterization requirements.
Cannabis Cultivation Policy – Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy)
The Cannabis Policy establishes principles and guidelines (requirements) for cannabis cultivation activities to protect water quality and instream flows. The purpose of the Cannabis Policy is to ensure that the diversion of water and discharge of waste associated with cannabis cultivation does not have a negative impact on water quality, aquatic habitat, riparian habitat, wetlands, and springs. The Cannabis Policy requirements are primarily implemented through the Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation General Order and Cannabis SIUR permits in addition to the California Department of Food and Agriculture's CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Program.
Please see the Cannabis Policy page for more information.
Water Quality - Cannabis Cultivation General Order
The purpose of the Cannabis Cultivation General Order is to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that discharges to waters of the State do not adversely affect the quality and beneficial uses of such waters. The Cannabis Cultivation General Order is a simplified Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) available to cannabis cultivators to regulate discharges of waste associated with cannabis cultivation. Threats of waste discharge may be from irrigation runoff, over fertilization, pond failure, road construction, grading activities, domestic and cultivation related waste, etc. The Cannabis Cultivation General Order WDRs may be referred to as a “Water Quality Permit” or a “Water Quality Protection Enrollment” by other agencies.
The Cannabis Cultivation General Order implements the Cannabis Policy requirements and addresses activities related to cannabis cultivation or associated land development. Cannabis cultivation activities may occur indoor or outdoor. All commercial cannabis cultivators must obtain coverage under the Cannabis Cultivation General Order.
Please see the Cannabis Water Quality page for more information.
Water Rights - Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR) for Cannabis Cultivation
The SIUR implements the Cannabis Policy which requires cannabis cultivators to forbear (or cease) from diverting surface water during the dry season. The State Water Board has developed the Cannabis SIUR Program as an expedited process for cannabis cultivators to develop and install storage. The Cannabis SIUR allows for the diversion and storage of up to 20 acre-feet per year and incorporates the requirements of the Cannabis Policy, amongst other requirements, as general conditions.
Please see the Cannabis Water Rights page for more information.
Information regarding the Water Boards enforcement program that addresses diversions of surface water and waste discharges that could harm the waters of the State can be found on the Cannabis Cultivation Enforcement Homepage.
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