State water board laying out water regulation for marijuana growers

Concern over how water use could affect ag industry

Fresno, Calif. - Is drought stricken California ready for the cannabis industry?

The State Water Resources Control Board laid out their plan to potential marijuana growers on how they can get access to water.

"People that do not have storage will need to get a small irrigation use registration which is also a new program we're rolling out for cannabis," said Daniel Schultz, Environmental Program Manager.

A new wave of marijuana growers, also means an increase in water consumption.

For drought stricken California that can be a problem for the ag industry, but Schultz said they put a measure in place so it doesn't interfere.

Marijuana growers aren't allowed to divert water to their crop during the summer which Schultz said is a high demand water period for farmers.

"They need to be diverting in the winter period when they are allowed to divert and put that water in storage to be used in the summer time," said Schultz.

"There is a lot of concern," said Ryan Jacobson, Fresno County Farm Bureau.

Jacobson said anything that shakes up the water supply concerns farmers.

Right now, he said it's too early to tell how much it will affect their industry, but many farmers are keeping an eye on what's happening.

"We pay attention to every single drop, whether it's agriculture or local cities every single drop is precious in this state," said Jacobson.

Which is why Schultz said they'll keep a close eye on surface water permits.
 
"At the point we determine there is no more water available for appropriation we'll stop giving out those permits for surface water," said Schultz.

Schultz said they've finally created an online portal for all of their water permits applications and fees.


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