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State Water Board: Water Quality Programs

State Water Board - Cannabis Cultivation Water Quality


The Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program currently includes discharge permits that address controllable water quality factors associated with cultivation on private property in the North Coast and Central Valley Regions.

The program is designed to meet the requirements of the Basin Plans, the California Water Code, and the Clean Water Act. The State and regional water boards are the principal agencies with primary responsibility for the coordination and control of water quality. Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, also known as polluted runoff, is the leading cause of water quality impairments. Many streams in California are impacted by erosion and sediment delivery, changes to riparian systems that may reduce shade and affect water temperatures, over allocation of water sources, and chemical/pollutant discharges from areas under cultivation or material/waste storage areas.

These orders contain requirements that eliminate, minimize, or mitigate water quality impacts to protect and/or restore water quality. Statewide waste discharge requirements are under development. Enrollments under these orders do not preclude the need for permits that may be required by other governmental agencies. The orders do not authorize, endorse, sanction, permit or approve the cultivation, possession, use, sale or other activities associated with cannabis. Individuals engaging in cannabis cultivation and other activities risk prosecution under federal law.


UPDATE: Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment, Staff Information Workshops, Board Workshop, and Public Hearing. The State Water Board is accepting public comments on the Draft Cannabis Cultivation Policy - Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy), Draft Cannabis Cultivation Policy Staff Report (Staff Report) and Draft General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges of Waste Associated with Cannabis Cultivation Activities (General Order). The comment period ends at 12:00 P.M. (noon) on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. More information on where to submit comments, information on the workshops and hearings associated with this effort, and the three draft documents available for public comment are located here.


Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board - Redding
Contact: Clint Snyder
Phone: (530) 224-4845

North Coast Regional Water Quality
Control Board
Contact: Diana Henrioulle
Phone: (707) 576-2350