Weed and Mt. Shasta Water Issues---
Groundwater extraction for commercial bottling in Weed and Mt. Shasta has received major attention this Fall. Pristine gravity fed groundwater enjoyed by the Weed residents for over 110 years is in question. A portion of the water coming from Beaughan Springs on Roseburg Forest Products land has been supplied to the City of Weed and more recently to Crystal Geyser for bottled water. Last year a local citizens' group (Weed Area Water Alliance) (WAWA) filed a Siskiyou Superior Court Complaint against Roseburg and the City of Weed alleging violations of CEQA surrounding the new Water Lease Agreement and also unfair business competition. Roseburg has been selling Crystal Geyser Roxane water for over 20 years, one third of which is sent to Japan. Crystal Geyser has stated they want the City’s entire share of waters. The WAWA complaint also claims the city owns their 2.0 cfs water rights based upon a recently discovered 1982 letter acknowledging the transfer of these rights from International Paper before Roseburg entered the picture.
Meanwhile, the citizens of another group WCWC Water for Citizens of Weed CA in May 2017 prevailed in convincing the City Council to support their request of the local Shasta and Scott Valley Watermaster District and the State Water Resources Control Board to investigate the city's water rights. A SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) was immediately filed against the both the City of Weed and 9 citizens. The Weed Nine represented by an excellent legal team of James Wheaton and Paul Clifford of First Amendment.org won in court on December 7th. The SLAPP suit was dismissed and the citizen’s first amendment rights to petition their government were upheld in Siskiyou Superior Court, once again with Judge Karen Dixon presiding. Roseburg lost this battle, but states that they are considering next steps.
In Mount Shasta two citizen groups and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe filed an Appeal to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors over the Planning Commission's November 2017 decision to accept a very flawed EIR on the Crystal Geyser Water Company plant. The Mount Shasta watershed has been the target of major international water bottling corporations since 1996 with Danone Waters followed by Coca Cola and now Crystal Geyser. On the south side of the mountain near McCloud, Nestle attempted unsuccessfully to place a huge straw into the volcanic aquifer providing
water to both the Sacramento River and Shasta Lake and south. As usual, little attention has been paid to plastics pollution and impacts on groundwater. One wet year does not spell the end of drought. While many north Siskiyou County residents may not give credence to global warming, the south county residents are well aware of the writing on the wall. Convincing local jurisdictions that water bottling is a dead end resource extractive path is the ongoing challenge.
As anticipated, the appeal was denied on December 12th. Attorney Marsha Burch filed the Appeal representing the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, W.A.T.E.R. (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review and the Gateway Neighborhood Association). If allowed to proceed there are clearly inadequate protections for local wells and aquifers, air quality, traffic and local sewer infrastructure. These groups will be looking into every means to continue to defend the many unresolved issues and work for a legitimate final EIR. For more information, to make a donation, or to get involved contact: www.cawater.net