Cannabis Operations Illegally Hauling Water in Petaluma Dairy belt

Cannabis Operations Illegally Hauling Water in Petaluma Dairy belt

Growers stealing your public water supply. During a drought.

Sonoma County response? Not much.

Dear California Water Board and Department of Cannabis Control:

I provide here evidence of violations of law with respect to the use of trucked water at cannabis cultivations in Sonoma County. We are experiencing an unprecedented drought during which residents of this county have been asked to reduce their water use by 20% by abandoning growing vegetable gardens, not washing their vehicles, and taking fewer showers. Cannabis growers have taken advantage of these sacrifices by illegally watering their crops with city water.

I understand that unauthorized use of water under state regulations will result in forfeiture of a license to cultivate (e.g., DCC §15001.2 (d)(1)). Under Sonoma County’s Cannabis Ordinance (§ 26-88-254(g)(10)), a cultivator must have an on-site water supply source adequate to meet all on-site uses on a sustainable basis. Any cultivation site that requires the use of trucked municipal water does not have a sustainable water source. All cities in Sonoma County forbid using water from hydrants for cannabis operations.

The attached Insight Group Report provides abundant evidence and photographs of municipal water being hauled to a cannabis grow at 334 Purvine Road, Petaluma (Sonoma County UPC17-0020; CCL20-0000520). This operation requires up to 2 million gallons of water per harvest, an amount unsustainable at this site.

The attached report Illegal Water Hauling in Petaluma Dairy Belt provides abundant evidence and photographs of municipal water apparently being hauled to 1400 Valley Ford Freestone Road, Bodega (Sonoma County APC21-0001, -0101, 0045; apparently no state licenses). It contains similar information for 4835 and 3803 Springhill Road, Petaluma (Sonoma County APC21-0056 through -0064; CCL20-0002173 through -2188).

There is evidence of similar water violations at 2260 Los Alamos Road, Santa Rosa (UPC18-0037) based on abundant eye witness information. Permit Sonoma has declined to investigate or refer the matter to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office or the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office. Sonoma County’s attitude seems to be that unless private citizens trespass on a cannabis site, risking life and limb, to photograph water being delivered, the county will ignore illegal water hauling.

I request that you take immediate action against these entities. Growers consider fines as merely a cost of doing business. It is very important to send a strong message to all cultivators in Sonoma County that egregious misuse of water will be penalized by putting the cultivators permanently out of business.

Sanjay Bagai