Monday, October 03, 2016

Timber firm tells citizens of N. Calif. town dependent on spring to 'find their own water'

The residents of Weed, California, will no longer enjoy the use of spring water that is piped from the foothills of Mount Shasta, after "Rosenberg Forest Products, an Oregon-based company that owns the pipe forest where the spring surfaces, is demanding that the city of Weed find its water elsewhere," reports Thomas Fuller for The New York Times.

City Council Member Bob Hall drinks water
from the spring. (New York Times photo)
Rosenberg charged the city $1 a year for the use of water from the Beughan Spring for the past 50 years. "As of July it began charging $97,500 annually," Fuller writes. "A contract signed this year directs the city to look for alternative sources."

Ellen Porter, the director of environmental affairs for Rosenberg, told Fuller, "The city needs to actively look for another source of water . . . Rosenberg is not in a position to guarantee the availability of that water for a long period of time."

Rosenberg has not told the city of Weed what it plans to do with the water, Fuller writes, "but it already sells water to Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring, which bottles it in weed and ships it as far away as Japan."

"The corporate mentality is that they can make more money selling this water to Japan," Bob Hall, a former mayor and council member, told Fuller. "We were hooked at the hip with this company for years . . . Now they are taking advantage of people who can't defend themselves."

"Residents of Weed, including the current mayor and three former mayors, say the water has always been intended foe municipal and domestic use and should not be sold to the highest bidder," Fuller writes. Residents say that this "water war" will end in the courts and "that they have a document showing that the previous owner of Rosenberg's timber business here, International Paper, handed over water rights to the city in 1982." (Read more)

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