Mad River Water Bag Proposal
Letter from the Town Hall Coalition
After the successful campaign to stop the water bag proposal on the Gualala and Albion Rivers, Ric Davidge of Aqueous Corp. (formerly Alaska Water Exports) has now targeted the Mad River in Humboldt County. He has identified San Diego and Monterey as potential markets for selling what he claims to be “excess water.”
We have maintained the position that there is no such thing as “excess” water as there is no such thing as “excess” forestland. Water is a public trust resource and should not be treated as private property. Nor should water be exploited for the exclusive benefit of a multinational corporation eager to use the auspice of international trade agreements to undermine community control of the commons. For an excellent background article, please visit the links on the front page of our website, Town Hall Coalition.
Town Hall Coalition has written to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, which has taken Davidge’s proposal up for consideration, urging them to consider the cumulative economic, ecological, social, and political consequences of this proposal. We have asked that in order to protect the integrity of North Coast Rivers and secure the public trust, they should reject this proposal by Ric Davidge and Aqueous to privatize water from our North Coast rivers and streams.
Below is a SAMPLE LETTER that you can use to voice your support against this proposal. Please feel free to use it, add your comments, and pass it on to others who share your concerns about water privatization and protecting the public trust. You can email comments to: Office@hbmwd.com or write letters to the address below:
Re: Mad River Water Bag Proposal
I am writing to ask you to oppose the recent proposal by Aqueous Corp. to bag water from the Mad River. I am deeply concerned that by granting export of Mad River water to private companies there will be a number of harmful effects on the River and its surrounding communities. I am particularly concerned about the following issues:
1. Water is a public trust and a human right, not a private property. Therefore, water should be managed by democratically-elected bodies on behalf of all inhabitants, not for the private benefit of special interests. Once the water is placed in private hands, local governments lose the right to restrict the taking of water, regardless of environmental and social consequences. When communities have tried to reclaim their water in the past, corporations have sued countries and states for billions of dollars in “lost revenue.” I am concerned that with Aqueous’ affiliation as part of an international consortium of water marketeers, that it may move to take control of California’s water by invoking international trade provisions.
2. If Mad River water is shipped down to Southern California, it will detract from what can be used locally; this may consequently inhibit future economic development and opportunities within the community. While Humboldt County residents lose some of their valuable resource economy, Mr. Davidge is making an estimated $46,500 per water bag, paying only $90 per acre/ft., while Humboldt County residents pay $500 per acre/ft. In addition, the North Coast River’s fishing industry has been valued at over $40 billion and is the fastest growing industry in Humboldt County. Aqueous’ continuous activities could possibly disrupt the growth of existing fisheries with the increased traffic of tugs carrying large poly-urethane bags and the presence of large safety devices.
3. The presence of water bags could have numerous detrimental effects on the local ecosystem. The “excess” water that could remain in the river as instream flows to support endangered salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife would be removed. After the recent Klamath fish kill, we are no longer secure with the science upon which we base water allocations. Water bags could also break and release freshwater into Marine habitats, harming aquatic life. Nordic Water Supply, a conglomerate to Aqueous Corp., has already had various problems with bags ripping and becoming lost in the Mediterranean. The migratory routes of whales and other marine mammals could also be disrupted.
Please use your authority as General Manager to reject this harmful proposal and ensure the protection of all North Coast Rivers, the California coastline, and public trust resources.