Cannabis Industry Needs Improvement In Water Use Efficiency: Report

Even though the cannabis industry can pride itself on using notably less water than other big crops in California, there is still a lot of room for improvement, New Frontier Data said in its latest report.

The cannabis-oriented analytics company partnered with Resource Innovation Institute and Berkeley Cannabis Research Center to release the "Cannabis H2O: Water Use and Sustainability in Cultivation" report.

The report tackles water issues by analyzing water consumption across many facility types and offering alternative options for cultivators to further advance water efficiency through new techniques.

Crucial Points:

  • Total water usage within the legal cannabis market should jump 86% by 2025;
  • Almost 2.8 billion gallons of water was used for legal and illegal cannabis crops last year, and due to the rise in demand, this amount is expected to reach 3.6 billion gallons by 2025;
  • The illegal market will continue to account for as much as 83% of water use in the next five years, falling to 69% in 2025.

“Water has always been a vital variable to cannabis cultivation, especially in drought-prone states such as California, the U.S. cannabis cultivation epicenter,” Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, New Frontier's founder and CEO, said in a statement. 

“Ongoing environmental concerns, and now rapidly increasing pressure to price competitively, are making water efficiency critical for lower operational costs and industry sustainability in the U.S. and abroad.”

Derek Smith, executive director of RII, said “it is interesting to note how the conventional wisdom about water use in the legal industry does not appear to be accurate.”

Smith concluded that “understanding water use is the first step to learning how we can create a more sustainable cannabis agriculture industry.”

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