Where Does Your Water Come From? Important Deadline!!!!

~Documenting your Water Source for Cannabis Cultivation Licensing~

If you are growing cannabis, the state of California wants to know where you are fetching your water from.

There is not a lot of time left for letting the State Water Resources Control Board, the agency tasked with protecting water sources from adverse effects of cannabis cultivation, know where and how you use your water source. The deadline is June 30th.

Here is what you need to know:

  • The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) oversees Water Rights while the Regional Water Boards are tasked with protecting the Water Quality.  
  • The State Water Board is currently drafting a statewide general order for a cannabis cultivation waste discharge program which will be enforced at the regional level. Currently there are only two regions that already have programs: the North Coast and the Central Valley, which covers Nevada County.

If you plan on seeking a cannabis cultivation license from CalCannabis, the state licensure agency, you will be required to provide documentation of your irrigation/water supply source.

**June 30th Deadline**

  • If you are using or plan to use water from a stream, lake, wetland, pond, or spring, then you need to submit documentation to the State Water Board before July 1, 2017 to document water diversion that took place the prior year.
  • If you are currently diverting surface water for cannabis cultivation from a pond, wetland, stream or lake complete the Initial Statement of Water Diversion and Use immediately.  
  • If you plan to source from a lake or a stream, fill out Form 19332.2(b)(5) in addition to the Statement of Water Diversion to demonstrate your riparian right to divert.  A riparian right enables the owner of land bordering a natural lake or stream to take water onto their land as long as the land is in the same watershed as the source. Additionally, you will likely need a 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement/Permit from the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, although it need not be by June 30th.
  • If you are currently using water from a spring/seep that does not flow off the property on which it is located, and is less than 25 feet/year you must submit the Form 19332.2(b)(4) instead of the Statement of Water Diversion.
  • If you are unsure which category your water source belongs, or have questions, please visit the Cannabis webpage or contact Division of Water Rights staff at WB-DWR-CannabisReg@waterboards.ca.gov or call 916-341-5300.


Additional Action Items


  • If your source is a groundwater well, you will need to provide a copy of the well log/well completion report from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) or a letter from DWR stating that they do not have a record of the well (pre-1970) with your CDFA licensing application. Although this form does not have a deadline, it is best to complete this information as soon as possible.  Contact the receptionist at (916) 653-579.
  • If you use NID water, it is necessary to document that water was used for cannabis cultivation in your annual Crop Acreage Report as the reports are collected by the State Water Board.  Contact NID Customer Service at 530-273-6185 with additional questions.