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ICO Article: Community prepares to meet Davidge

This article was published in the
Independent Coast Observer
on March 1, 2002.

Community prepares to meet Davidge
By Julie Verran

Courtesy Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA

Citizens met last Thursday evening at Gualala Arts Center to prepare to ask questions when water mogul Ric Davidge speaks at The Sea Ranch Forum on March 16. They agreed there is much to learn.

People ask why the small Albion and Gualala rivers were targeted by the Davidge plan to use tugboats and water bags to transport water south; some think the low population and lack of incorporated towns were factors.

The ICO in mid-January obtained a copy of the Alaska Water Exports application to export water from the Gualala. It is all we have to go by until the final application is released for public comment.

There is a four page Application to Appropriate Water and a 10-page Application to appropriate Water by Permit Environmental Information, filled out by typing or computer, signed by Davidge and dated September 20, 2000.

There is also a five-page Application to Appropriate Water filled out by hand, signed by Davidge and dated March 13, 2001. All are stamped June 6, 2001, by the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights.

Davidge and Alaska Water Exports propose construction of a concrete intake cistern (their map shows two intakes) in the river bed, a 7,700-foot pipeline, with 6,700 feet of pipeline within the active river channel. “Pipe diameter is 24 inches, pipeline ditch is four feet wide at the bottom of the trench, the trench shall be excavated to a depth of five feet. This allows for three feet of back fill for protection of river scour and erosion.”

Off-stream storage is stated to be offshore, presumably in water bags, but some people think there may also be off-stream reservoirs planned on land.

“The water will be provided to water utilities along the California coast population in the millions,” wrote Davidge by hand on one form.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution of strong opposition stating in part, “Mendocino County Board of Supervisors does not support placing people at risk by providing unsecured water supplies, such as out-of-Basin water transfers that would fluctuate with drought and local resource need.”

The SWRCB Division of Water Rights is requiring Davidge to a provide a map showing exactly where the people to be served with water are located. The California Coastal Commission sent a letter signed by Eureka staffer Randall Stemmler stating that CCC permits would be needed for the structures and offering to work with Davidge.

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