Looming water conflicts
EDITOR: Nearly every day I read another article about the severity of California’s drought crisis and how climate change compounds the impacts of drought. Many wells around Sonoma County are already critically low. Yet the public is receiving mixed messages from county leaders.
Residents will need to conserve 30%-50% of water usage, Supervisor Linda Hopkins recently advised. “In my opinion, if it’s not something you’re going to eat, maybe you shouldn’t be watering it,” Hopkins said (“Bracing for water cuts as reservoirs get lower,” April 3).
Yet the county appears to be charging ahead with rule changes that would permit cannabis grows on potentially tens of thousands of acres, without adequate water use studies. Napa County studied cannabis water use and decided against cannabis grows due to data that indicate grows will use six times or more water than vineyards.
Required grow setbacks from neighboring properties of only 100 feet, or 300 feet from neighboring residences, are completely inadequate to protect neighbor wells and shared aquifers.
With no neighborhood input required for permits to be issued, the county is teeing up perpetual conflicts and likely lawsuits between cannabis growers and neighborhoods when our wells run dry and our groundwater disappears.