NID committee clarifies report on cannabis cultivation effects on water demand

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. February 13, 2018 – NID’s Water & Hydroelectric Operations Committee (WHO) meeting yielded clarifications on the staff report provided before the meeting regarding “Potential Effects of Cannabis Cultivation on Water Quality & Demand: Review and discuss the proposed regulations and the potential adverse effects of cannabis cultivation on water quality and demand.”

“The District’s planning and management documents utilize 1250 gallons per day as the equivalent demand that each treated water connection will consume,” the report stated. With average daily consumption ranging around 250 gallons, the higher number deserved clarification.

Chip Close, NID’s Water Operations Manager, explained 1,250 gallons is the upper limit of daily water delivery a regular residential treated water meter provides. If customers exceed the 1,250 gallons/day the district reaches out and either helps customers to reduce usage or offers an upgrade to a higher usage meter, with a supplemental connection fee.

Members of the Cannabis Alliance present at the meeting offered their studies and expertise to narrow down some of the assumptions made in the report. Water usage, varying from 1-6 gallons a day per plant are more realistic than some numbers put forth by staff, said Jonathan Collier, representing the Cannabis Alliance.

Close also clarified NID will have to integrate possible cannabis cultivation water needs into their Raw Water Master Plan update. Large, commercial operations would require irrigation water, not treated water.

The total acreage of commercial cultivation in Nevada County is unlikely to exceed 400 acres replied Collier, citing the county’s Community Advisory Group’s recommendation for commercial cultivation.

Conservation efforts, mandated by the state, may need to take cannabis cultivation into consideration Close stated. Rem Scherzinger, NID’s General Manager, reminded the committee of the 20% reduction by 2020 mandated by the state and added that further restrictions are coming.

The report will be updated with the latest figures before coming to the district’s board at a future date.

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