Drought conditions demand cannabis-grow moratorium

Posted on September 4, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Board of Supervisors are scheduled for a one hour discussion of a Cannabis Ordinance Urgency Moratorium on September 21. With the constant drumbeat of bad news about the water crisis in our county and the entire west, I can only assume this topic is being considered because of the drought. Even one wet winter will not bring us back to normal conditions and the weather prediction is for another dry season.

The supervisors have already asked that their housing allocation be reduced because of the drought and because of  the uncertainly of where the water will come for those new homes.

It is imperative that the Board protect the current residents and current agriculture without adding more water users. The climate crisis is real and we cannot hide our heads in the sand any longer. The supervisors need to seriously evaluate the cumulative impacts of all new uses of water they’re approving. I urge a “yes” vote on an urgency moratorium and hope the vote is 5-0 on September 21.

— Nancy Richardson, Santa Rosa 



4 thoughts on “Drought conditions demand cannabis-grow moratorium

  1. It was Permit Sonoma, (Planner Brian Oh), that appealed RHNA, and it was on the basis of water infrastructure, not supply, among other reasons.

    Water Supply Reliability is OK

    “Based on analysis conducted for Sonoma Water’s 2020 UWMP (Sonoma Water 2021), Sonoma Water has adequate water supply to deliver imported surface water through the 2045 planning horizon analyzed in the 2020 UWMP. The exception are single-dry years, starting after 2025. For single-dry years, model simulations predict that storage levels in Lake Sonoma will drop below 100,000 AF prior to July 15th, thus requiring demand curtailments by Sonoma Water customers per SWRCB Decision 1610 (SWRCB 1986) for some portion of the year. In these circumstances, Sonoma Water will work with its customers to reduce demands on the imported surface water. Based on efforts over the last five years during dry conditions, Sonoma Water does not anticipate any difficulty in maintaining an adequate supply of imported surface water during the single-dry year. The magnitude of these single-dry year potential shortfalls is
    estimated to be about 19 percent of average annual demand by 2045. This condition is accounted for in the baseline projected water budget developed for this GSP by assuming higher levels of groundwater demands from Sonoma Water contractors during dry conditions.”

    citation: draft SV GSP chapter 3, Water Budget

  2. Well drillers are very busy as wells are drying up. No new reservoirs have been built in Northern California since the 1970s. I sure wouldn’t bank on any happy talk from Sonoma Water about only having to endure a single dry year now and then.

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