Cal Cannabis Water Rights Support In Fortuna and Redway This Week

The Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Division of Water Rights are holding Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Open Houses to help cannabis permit applicants get their water rights and their 1600 agreements in place for the state cannabis cultivation permit through the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The Workshops will be at the River Lodge conference center in Fortuna on Wednesday the 29th and at the Mateel Community Center in Redway on Thursday the 30th, and in Ukiah at the Conference Center on September 5th. The Open Houses run from 10am to 3pm.

Robert Cervantes is a Senior Engineer with the Department of Water Resources within the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Cervantes heads the Cannabis Registration Program. That program provides Cannabis Certificates for storage of winter flows for summer time use on cannabis crops. Cervantes also makes certain that aspiring cannabis cultivators have met their requirements for the water quality.

In a phone interview, Cervantes explained,

A Cannabis Registration Certificate is actually a water right. We call it the Small Irrigation Use Registration.  It’s an expedited type of process rather than going through the traditional appropriative water right program.

We have it set up for folks to come in, they give us their information and they pay a $750 fee and we can get them their water right in weeks instead of years.

Computers and Staff On-Site to Get Your Water Storage Permit

He also said, “The format of these public outreaches is we are going to give a brief presentation, basically outlining what our cannabis policy is. And what folks need to do to get registered with our programs.”

Cervantes explained that at the workshops being held in Weaverville, Fortuna, Redway and Ukiah, people will get the help they need to get through the state’s portal and get their water right application filed. (The open house in Weaverville was on the 21st.)

Cervantes described the outline of the workshops,

So, we are going to have a brief presentation outlining all of the program requirements, but we are also going to have computers and tables set up for folks to come in ask their site specific questions. We’ll have staff there to answer. And we’ll also have staff there to help walk people through establishing their online account. And even getting their water right and their water quality permit if they have all the information they need to get through the online portal.

What to Bring

The information you will need includes your APN number, contact information for the property owner, and the cultivator if that is not the property owner.  Water use information needs to include: all existing water right numbers (Small Domestic Registration, Initial Statement, Permit, License, etc.) or other water right information; point of Diversion (POD) and Water source information (Name, Location, stream characteristics, etc.); Place of Use (POU) information (APN, parcel acreage, cultivation acreage, non-cannabis irrigation acreage, number of plants); Diversion Works information (method and conveyance specifics); information on water use for cannabis plants (gallons or acre feet), the planned number of irrigation days, and irrigation rate; planned water use amounts for any incidental uses (aesthetic, fire protection, recreational, or fish and wildlife) in gallons per year and a justification for the amount; offstream storage information such as number of existing tanks/bladders, number of proposed tanks/bladders, existing capacity, and proposed capacity; project description (area to be graded, diversion operation, and complete or proposed project features); and finally, the Project Completion Schedule.

It’s Yet to Become a Trend

Not very many people have signed up for the right to store water yet. Cervantes said,

Right now we have a total of 375 people who have come in and registered for their water right. And we have certified 172 if them.

Many folks have come in, but they haven’t paid yet.


We are not going to look at those applications until we receive the fee.

Once we receive the $750 fee, we will review the application.


We correspond with the applicant via email or telephone….We try to clarify any deficiencies we find in the application. We clear those up and then get them their water right so they can go to CDFA and CalCannabis and get their license.

Cervantes was joined in the interview by Assistant Deputy Director of Water Rights, Julie Rissardo, who oversees the permitting and enforcement branch of the Division of Water Right. She announced,

What we need is for people to come in and get registered. As Robert said, we have a few hundred registrations in the door. We know that there are literally thousands of cultivators out there who need to get registered, and we want to help them get registered.


This is an important, first, critical step before they can receive registrations from other agencies. So that is why it’s really critical right now to get started.

We are in a massive outreach phase right now.


These workshops are targeted in the areas we are hearing are areas where the cultivators need the help.

In these workshops, we are looking forward to actually getting people registered at the event. We will have the computers there. Folks can also bring their own laptops.


We are really trying to make it as easy as possible to get the most number of people registered.

Diversion Capacity and Schedule

Cannabis Registration Certificate allow storage of diversions of up to a maximum of 6.6 acre feet of water a year. This equates to about 2 million gallons of water.

The volume is determined by the maximum diversion rate of 10 gallons per minute, every minute of the day, multiplied by the number of days in the diversion season which is 151.

The diversion season is November 1st through March 31st.

Cervantes said that “from 12:00 a.m. on November 1st through 11:59 p.m. on March 31,” Cannabis Certificate holders can divert 10 gallons of water per minute so long as the stream at their point of diversion is deemed to be at an adequate flow to support the diversion.

Cervantes said the Division of Water Rights is creating an online mapping tool for water diverters. He said, “It’ll be like a red light, green light. If the light is green, turn your pump on; if the light is red, that means there is not enough water in the stream for you to divert for cannabis.”


Cervantes also talked about the reporting mandates that are necessary for cannabis diverters,

Every year you will need to come onto our online reporting management system, and we send folks letters with their user name and password to access this system. What we want to know is how much water the diverters use each month.

Cervantes said the tool “has a calendar layout, and the cultivators will enter how much water they used in each month, and how much they diverted during the winter season.”




  • The State of California wants to help ? All you have to do is keep them informed? Why does that scare the hell out of me… Oh yes. Because once they’ve got you, you will have ever more regulations, reportings and fees. And a vocal segment of the population will be lobbying for the State to do ever more.

    Moderation in regulating is not a California esthetic.

    • Take away the fishing pole from the dirty hippies and give them a fish, Redwoods Rationed Health Care, some public transportation, and a couple of food stamps, and they won’t know any better.

  • Pharmstheproblem

    Ya this is b.s.. Already have all this , along with all the grading permits… But the county still say s no… why bother if they don’t care? Certain areas of the county are getting completely cut out, because of personal opinions on land use not what it’s zoned for… County could care less about helping the little guy…. plus would really like to see county building dept take a drug test. Wouldn’t surprise me to find some meth heads there…..oh wait it could be Adderall….

  • Hey- only $750 for the right to use your own water! What a great deal!! Just dig up some more of that money that we know all of you super-wealthy dope growers have and give it to us!! Did you think we were going to forget about you? No, we never will. Just give us all your info so we can make sure that the water that you used to use for free on your own land will become the documented property of the state of California! And then we will allow you- for now- to use your own water!! Of course later on we may install further fees and taxes- annual fees, inspection fees, state usage taxes, etc- but don’t worry about that now. Just give us all your information so WE can HELP YOU!!!….We are the state and we are here to help you…..You’re welcome!

    • Rule of Law not Leftists

      FYI – you don’t own that water, it’s property of the state, and is held in common. With a riparian water right a household can’t just go use that water without first notifying the state of the appropriation and pay $250. So to use water you have a claim on you need to appropriate and pay the fee regardless if for personal or commercial use. Crying about $750 for commercial use and saying it’s your water only makes you look moronic and a whiner. The rest of us follow the rule of law what makes you special? Get with the program or find a new line of work and stop complaining!

      • Not exactly. It is not owned by the State either. The State acts as a referee to ensure each user does not abuse the rest. And that applies to surface water, not ground water.
        “Water is protected for the use and benefit of all Californians. California’s waters cannot be owned by individuals, groups, businesses, or governmental agencies. But permits, licenses, and registrations give individuals and others the right to beneficially use reasonable amounts of water.”

        The continued regulation of minutiae by the State is in fact their attempt to appropriate what is not theirs.

      • Ha! A spring on your property that does not lead to a year round creek WAS not claimed by the state until now. The cannabis situation is being used by them to now claim these springs and they are charging you to use them. You say I sound like a moron?
        I think you sound like a boot- licker. This is a significant curtailment of private property. Perhaps you live in the city w city water?

      • To try to clarify for folks. Water is owned by the people of the state and a water right is the right to its use, which the Constitution states must be “reasonable and beneficial.” The Water Board has jurisdiction over surface rights (not groundwater, and there is a technical test to determine what water qualifies as surface water–some underground water does qualify). Riparian rights can be used on any crop, including commercial cannabis, but the State has determined that diverting water for cannabis during the summer has “unreasonable” negative impacts on the environment. Thus a cultivator must divert water during the winter for summer use. Riparian rights do not include the right to store water for more than 30 days, thus the requirement to obtain an appropriative right (the Board has provided the SIUR program to meet this need) to enable winter storage of water for summer use.

  • FYI.. it’s more like abuse of law! The law on the books, is that if you have a spring.. and it does not leave your property, you do not have to register or pay exorbitant fees. The water board has decided, they are above the rule of law… underscoring many already decided court battles, and enacted policies where in you must ‘register’ your spring, and charge you as much as a water company would to use it. The original law says that spring water, that does not leave the property is owned as one owns the soil. It does not belong to the King, or its commons. It belongs to the property owner. And the courts have ruled, and decided this.
    By the way.. it’s $750, to sign up.. then every year, it’s another $750 to $1500!!! Every Year!! That is as much as a ‘water bill’ from a water company!
    What is even more rediculous.. is that these fees and registration are pretty much only if you have ‘cannabis’ on the property. You can actually register for ‘small domestic use’, which allows you 4500 gallons of water a day.. and has nothing to do with ‘cannabiss’.
    Also, it is erroneous to expect people to store, and not use their water begging in ‘April’ the flows are still very high in April, May, and even June. This one size fits all approach is erroneous, and prohibiative. I am for water storage, but really it should start mid June, till about oct 1st.

    And standing up for your rights does not make you a ‘whiner’, it makes you a patriot.

    • There is an exemption process for springs that do not leave the property, for cannabis, where you do not need to pay the fees indefinitely. You just need to prove it, by having a qualified professional inspect it, that it truely does not leave the property instead of just saying it does. As for CDFW thinking any moisture on the ground being their jurisdiction is a whole other issue….

      • I’ve written a bunch on the subject of springs. Tech is correct, an exemption process exists for “fully contained” springs on your property. The untested issue is how the limits of that term, “fully contained,” are defined. Does it mean the water is not “connected” to surface water? Does it mean that the spring water doesn’t impact flows of downstream watersheds? Until we have a case that tests this and provides us with precedential language, the Board and CDFW are free to interpret “fully contained” as narrowly as they feel is reasonable.

        As for Tech’s point about CDFW jurisdiction over any moisture, that’s also a tricky issue. The Porter-Cologne Act, which is California’s clean water act, provides very broad jurisdiction for the state to regulate any “waters of the state,” which expressly covers wetlands. The question for me is whether the context of Porter-Cologne, which is pollution of the state’s waters, can be extended to cover diversions.

  • Maybe they can answer Gil’s question from the other night. When is it OK to pump out of the Matole, and when is it not. Lets give them the question now so they can study up. Go Gil!

    • Did you hear what that woman said to him!?
      “Well, it depends on which set of rules you’re looking at.”
      That about sums up the whole permitting process. Very confusing.

  • You mean NO RIGHTS! to YOUR OWN water… It has to be “diverted to the ocean” for “nature” Hogwash!

  • No thanks for your services

    Once they get a hair of info on you , your in for the rip off ride to end your life you thaught you had

  • the blackmarket isn’t going anywhere no matter what these dummies do keep driving people away & the blackmarket up. That’s a good way to destroy the economy. I never knew such a dummy could get voted in to supervisor

  • Anyone can sue anybody why doesn’t the blackmarket an legal guys who are mad at the situation sue the people running this , it would create more problems an put a stop to this or slow down the process even more from ruining our economy I went to a building center the other day locally at 4pm there was 3 cars there this place is taking a hit an if the people don’t do something good by economy it’s simple economics. Do the math

  • “Oh shut up, silly woman, ” said the reptile with a grin
    “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in”

  • I’ve been giving the water board money for five years and trying to get a small irrigation permit and I still don’t have one. It’s not even for cannabis at this point, it’s just to secure my rights.

    The waterboard is completely inept. They don’t know anything about anything. It’s basically just a bunch of pencil pushers who sit in front of computer screens and answer emails. That’s all they know how to do.

    My advice to anybody who hasn’t signed up with these power hungry idiots is don’t sign up. They’ve already got their hands full. Don’t sign up and just stay off their radar and you’ll probably be fine.

  • No thanks for your services

    Riperian water rights amended to the constitution in the 1880s. States when you buy a peice of property you own the water on it. By by constitution. By by land of the free(lol) by by greatest country in the world(lol) by by what hundreds of thousands of vetrans have layed down there lives for

  • Primary Water is why we don’t
    have a water shortage.


  • Can we just simplify?

    “In politics there is no honor.” Disraeli

    The Government has become a cesspool of corruption and tyranny, no wonder a strong dose of napalm wouldn’t cure these idiots. The bottom line -–its all fraud, all of it.

    The purpose of human life is to prosper and live happily. The function of society is to provide the conditions that let individuals fulfill that purpose. The conditions are guaranteed by forbidding the use of initiatory force, fraud, and coercion.


    Article One No one, group of people, or government shall initiate force, threat of force,
    or fraud against any individual’s self, property, or contract.

    Article Two Force is morally-and-lawfully justified only for protection from those who
    violate Article One.

    Article Three No exceptions shall exist for Articles One and Two.

  • No thanks for your services

    Charging us for whats already theives. We need to vote out the current politicians that are running California, im a lifelong democrat but lately im thinking there EXACTLY like the Republicans.

    • Hmm… do you know county sends out paperwork and charges for having a non standard septic system even when they do nothing for it? Talk about charging for what’s yours.

      • you could say they make sure your shit doesn’t ooze onto other peoples property potentially cause a health problem, or contaminate surface water. there is a reason for it and I am a mound owner/operator.

        • But they don’t inspect unless you want to pay extra. They don’t enforce even when there is a clear problem. They do keep the records and take the fee.

          • you are required to get an inspection every 3 years and submit it or you can pay them to do it. after 6 years (2 inspections) you can petition to inspect it yourself and submit the inspection form yourself. if you don’t deal with your problems, you will regret it by having to replace your failed leachfield/mound when selling the property. I flush my lines every 6 months and pump the tank when its at 2/3rds.

            • After 6 years and the petition, you still get charged a fee. No inspections but still a few. A neighbor was given a 2 year time frame to repair his failed system. In 10 years it’s never been done and never a subsequent inspection.

  • No thanks for your services

    Evan wanna charge us cuz we have to tank a dump

  • Lawl… a certificate would allow some one to store enough water for future sale that it would squashe the harvest yield. 2,150,616.2238 dollars for that much water being sold for one dollar per gallon.

  • No thanks for your services

    Wheres the air board at?? Probably being put together as we speak by our rip off congressman, Senator,and assemblyman,and supervisors.pretty soon theyle want 750 dollers a year to breath the smoke from all the fires. Back to water the ceo of nestle announced awhile back that water is not a human right its a privilege, remember that when thinking of bying nestle products.

  • No thanks for your services

    Cmon on down we got computers so you can type in all your info. Hahahahahaha!!!!!

  • F*€% the Water board and everything they stand for. They really represent everything that’s going in the wrong direction. Who’s in favor of this? This is our government! We pay taxes and vote to try to create the govt we want. I’m as liberal as they come on most issues but I can’t stand these govt pencil pushers trying to tell us what to do on our land. Who do they represent?

    • Lotta Wordsworth

      It’s not their goals that are absurd, it’s their methods.
      The methods turn them into effing effers from hell imo.

  • So there is this new local cannabis exchange that just started up that offers a place for brokers and traders to buy and sell virtual cannabis commodities in a legal regulated setting. This will be an interesting company to follow. I predict they will be worth millions one day…check it out.

  • Were gettin it with no lube

    Sellout scab company. A shame to the real growers and pioneers.cop sellouts and ratts

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