An investigation by Lynker Technologies LLC and the Law Office of Marc Chytilo has alleged that more than 70% of all cannabis operations in the Santa Ynez River Valley bottom illegally use surface water during California's worst drought.
According to the investigation, more than 500 acre-feet of water per year are being diverted from the Santa Ynez River Alluvial Basin to cannabis grows. The investigation by Lynker and the law office says this usage violates California law, which prohibits the use of surface water for cannabis cultivation between March 31 and November 1.
Of the 31 cannabis cultivation operations along the Santa Ynez River between Lake Cachuma and Lompoc, 22 appear to pump and irrigate illegally using water that is protected under California law, according to the investigation.
"All we've heard for two years is: 'You need concrete evidence.' So we went out and got some," Blair Pence, president of the Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis, told the News-Press Tuesday. "Honestly, the scope of these results came as a surprise to me. I can't believe this has gone on in our valley, and I am hopeful that the authorities will put a stop to it immediately."
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