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.
UPDATE State Water Board Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Workshops (Workshop Flyer):
State Water Board staff is hosting a series of permitting workshops to discuss cannabis cultivation permits and processes. There will be an opportunity at each meeting to discuss specific questions with State Water Board staff and staff from other cannabis cultivation permitting agencies. The State Water Board will have computers available to help cultivators set up an online application account and assist with filling out the application. The meetings will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following dates and locations: August 29, 2018 – Fortuna, August 30, 2018 – Redway, September 5, 2018 – Ukiah. For more information, please click on the flyer above.
The State Water Board in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) have identified Cannabis Priority Watersheds throughout the state that are of special environmental concern and are at increased risk of environmental impacts due to cannabis cultivation activities
Water Boards Cannabis Cultivation Program Application Portal (Portal) is now live!
Visit the Portal by clicking the link above to apply for coverage under the Cannabis Cultivation General Order or to file for a Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR) for Cannabis Cultivation. All commercial cannabis cultivators must apply for coverage under the Cannabis Cultivation General Order.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cannabis Cultivation Program Application Portal
The Cannabis Cultivation Program Application Portal (Portal) is an online tool that cannabis cultivators must use to enroll in the Division of Water Quality’s Cannabis Cultivation General Order program and register with the Division of Water Rights to obtain a Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR). ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATORS WILL NEED TO OBTAIN COVERAGE UNDER THE CANNABIS CULTIVATION GENERAL ORDER. Only cannabis cultivators who divert from a surface water source for the use of irrigating commercial cannabis will need to obtain a SIUR certificate.
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