Technical foundation being developed for cannabis growers to request stream flow diversions

Posted May 6, 2022

SCCWRP and its partners have begun working to develop a scientific foundation for cannabis growers in California to demonstrate that the water they are requesting to divert from nearby streams to support cannabis cultivation does not adversely affect the streams’ ecological health.

The study, initiated earlier this year, involves developing in-stream flow criteria using the recently developed California Environmental Flows Framework, as well as a suite of technical tools to assess potential ecological risks from diverting stream flows to support cannabis cultivation. Recreational marijuana was legalized in California in 2016.

The products of this work will help cannabis growers demonstrate that the individual and cumulative effects of their proposed stream flow diversions will not adversely affect the flow regimes necessary to support aquatic life and ecosystem functioning.

Researchers are initially focusing on evaluating the environmental flow needs of streams in the North Coast region of California. Eventually, the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights intends to complete similar analyses for each of 14 regions in California.

More news related to: Ecohydrology