Marijuana cultivators should reconsider the way they measure water usage, brand new report claims

An illustration showing new cannabis water use benchmarks, with some example use data from the Resource Innovation Institute.

As interest in water increases while the supply remains restricted, cannabis cultivators may need to replace the means they think of and determine their utilization of this valuable resource, based on a brand new report published by three businesses.

Early efforts quantified facility water usage by emphasizing gallons per plant.

But That model does take into account n’t the variability in plant density, size and cultivation period, noted the report.

The report, released Feb. 24 through a partnership among Washington DC-headquartered marijuana analytics company New Frontier Data, Oregon-based Resource Innovation Institute and the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center in California, can be downloaded for free here.

As an alternative, the report – “Cannabis H2O: Water Use and Sustainability in Cultivation” – outlines benchmarks that are new concentrate on water efficiency, effectiveness and need.

It concludes that the metrics that are new better at accounting for water use in the variety of outdoor, greenhouse, indoor and hybrid facilities that are currently used in legal cannabis cultivation across the United States.

The research comes as climate that is challenging, particularly drought, makes water a far more crucial input to lucrative cultivation as growers handle water limitations, scarcity and greater water expenses.


Water efficiency could be the dimension of grms of dry flower that is trimmed per gallon of water, which provides visibility into how effectively a grower is using water.

The larger the amount of flower produced represents more use that is effective

Greenhouses tend to be more productive than interior or outside cultivation models, based on self-reported water information from RII’s Cannabis PowerScore platform, a totally free energy-, water- and waste-benchmarking software.

Cannabis greenhouses produced 5.17 grms of flower per gallon of water, based on the report. It was a improvement that is slight indoor grows, which yielded 4.84 grams per gallon.

Outdoor facilities reported the use that is least-efficient of, at 3.13 grms per gallon.


Another way of measuring effectiveness is a facility’s use that is annual of water per square foot of space used for cultivation.

Water efficiency uses the area that is tray-and-table for plant manufacturing and excludes noncultivation areas such as for instance walkways.

Low water-use figures because of this indicate that is metric facility water use.

Outdoor facilities were the most efficient using this metric, according to RII data, averaging 11 gallons per square foot of cultivation area compared with 80 gallons for greenhouses and 198 for indoor facilities.

The disparity could be in the way outdoor grows report canopy areas, as plant spacing and plant sizes in outdoor farms make it hard to account for the space that is unused flowers, the report records.


Measuring How water that is much facility uses during the various points of the growth cycle can provide valuable information for planning and sustainability.

Demand is measured by application and storage over the course of months and years.

Application demand measures the facility’s water that is direct at the full time, while many cultivators, like those in Ca, will have to monitor their water storage during wetter parts for the season.

Indoor facilities had greater water need than many other center kinds.

RII stated that interior facilities on its Cannabis PowerScore platform averaged 605,180 gallons a more than double that of outdoor and greenhouse facilities.

The year indoor facilities averaged 69,000 to 124,000 gallons a with demand peaks in March, June, September and December.

The month cyclical nature for the water usage could possibly be associated with harvests that are single than perpetual harvest throughout the year, legalization schedules or syncing with holiday and summer sales demand.

Measuring water use

While the data offers insight into usage, the report highlights the difficulty in comparing cultivation facilities.

“Our research shows there are still differences that are massive cannabis manufacturing strategies and also to a point this variation is also noticed in our water usage information,” the report noted.

For instance, more founded facilities will efficiently use water more than new builds.

The group is confident that as the industry matures, efficient water use will become more important – just as it has for other agricultural crops.[email protected]A big part of that maturity will be creating water-use that is meaningful.

Andrew Longer could be reached at (*).(*)

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