| This article was published in the
Independent Coast Observer
on January 25, 2002.
Courtesy Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA
The San Diego water department has a staff member assigned to the proposal to bring water from the Gualala and Albion Rivers. We will report more on that when we hear back from the staffer.
An international consortium is involved in the proposal. Application 31194, for water rights on the Gualala River was filed by Alaska Water Exports with the State Department of Water Resources on June 6, 2001. Application 31195, for water rights on the Albion River was filed the same day by World Water, SA. Construction is planned to start this year.
This is a standard application process for state waters. Such requests are routinely granted; this is the same sort of process that North Gualala Water Company went through to gain rights to drill wells near the North Fork Gualala River.
According to the World Water, SA web site, www.worldwatersa.com, “World Water, SA and its partners pioneered the development of bulk water markets around the world. The shipment of bulk quantities of water from one hydro system to another is not a new idea, in fact it has been done for thousands of years. The scale and technological application developed by World Water, SA has transformed this industry from a small local or regional scale to global proportions.”
The Board of Directors of World Water, SA is: Ric Davidge, Chairman; Zaher S. AlMunajjed, Mikitoshi Kai, and Jan Otto Reimers.
One of the World Water Partners is Mizutech, a subsidiary of the Abdul Latif Jameel Group headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a private investment company. Among other things, the ALJ Group is a major distributor of automobiles and appliances, and operates hotels for pilgrims to Mecca. The web site is www.alj.com.
The water bags used for water transport were developed by another World Water Partner, Nordic Water Supply, ASA, a Norwegian company established in 1991. They started with 10,000 ton waterbags, and by 2001, they were able to deploy 35,000 ton waterbags. NWS waterbags have been used since 1997 to transport water from Turkey to Cyprus.
The waterbags look like huge, yellowish trapezoidal waterbeds and are towed by a type of tug. To see photos, and film clips of the waterbags in action, go to www.NWS.NO.
Another partner is Nippon Yusen Kaisha, the world’s largest shipping line. NYK Line (North America) Inc. has warehouses and other facilities in the Seattle, Portland and Tacoma areas. The company web site is www.nykline.com.
The fourth partner, Alaska Water Exports, is a division of Arctic Ice and Water Exports, Inc., headed by Davidge, a University of Alaska graduate and Vietnam veteran who had held numerous local, state and federal offices overseeing water, natural resources and community development.
A simple web search revealed that Davidge is also active in proposals to use single hull former oil tankers, which were replaced with double hulled vessels after the Exxon Valdez spill, as bulk water transportation.
Davidge was cited as estimating that towing water in waterbags could cost as little as $1.50 per thousand gallons, in a long feature article in a Rochester, N Y. newspaper in February, 2000. That article outlines numerous water transport proposals including exporting Great Lakes water to Las Vegas. The whole feature is located at www.rochesternews.com/extra/lakes/0208thirst.html
Other companies are seeking to improve waterbag technology , including one in Canada that is working on stronger bags. The Canadian government does not support water export.
When the ICO interviewed Davidge last week, he said that any Mendocino County water that is not needed by San Diego may go to Mexico.