Cuts to drought response in California budget shortchange resilience, access to water

Governor Brown’s revised state budget axed more than $100 in funding for drought response. This is a shortsighted response to what could very well be an ongoing problem of weather extremes–both droughts and storms that severely test the state’s water infrastructure, agricultural sector, and overall climate resilience.

According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News , a proposed budget increase of $179 million was reduced to $63 million, as a result of the five-year drought’s official “end” in April.

Much of the smaller increase will go to CalFire, which faces the fire risk of more than 100 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada, and to helping with emergency water supplies in Central Valley towns which lost water wells to the drought. There will also be about $12 million earmarked for inspections at large dams in California and to beef up emergency plans and flood maps in order to prepare for events similar to the Oroville Dam emergency earlier this year.

 

But deep cuts in drought management funds imperil the kind of broad climate-focused planning that the state needs to do to prepare for a probable future of increasing “drought or deluge” weather patterns. Funding ought to be retained to investigate and establish best practices for water conservation and efficiency, especially while the effects of five years of drought are still fresh in the public mind.

Moreover, long range planning must be rooted in principles of environmental justice. Water is a human right, and scarce resources must go first to the people who will use it for basic human needs–drinking and sanitation.

We call for California to go into long-term climate resilience, conservation, and efficiency studies with an eye to making these practices the cornerstone of a sustainable California water system–not the controversial Delta Tunnels project. We agree with Executive Director of Restore the Delta Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla that “the only way to guarantee a sustainable future for California is to plan for prolonged droughts punctuated by cycles of flood and to create water efficiency projects at the local level. This was done in Australia when they abandoned their large pipeline project for local water conservation systems. The Delta tunnels will not serve Californians during periods of drought, or during flood when waters are filled with sediment.”

Long-term drought will be back–it’s not “if” but “when.” When California again goes years with rainfall and snowpack far below necessary levels, systems built on efficiency and conservation can defend drinking water and public health by ensuring that existing water supplies are protected and directed where they are most needed: to drinking water, sanitation, the management of our fisheries, environmentally-appropriate agriculture, and the preservation of our environment.

Timber Company Tells California Town, Go Find Your Own Water

by Thomas Fuller, The New York Times

WEED, Calif. — The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.

To the residents of Weed, which sits in the foothills of Mount Shasta, a snow-capped dormant volcano, the spring water is a blessing during a time of severe and prolonged drought.

To the lumber company that owns the land where the spring is, the water is a business opportunity.

Roseburg Forest Products, an Oregon-based company that owns the pine forest where the spring surfaces, is demanding that the city of Weed get its water elsewhere.

“The city needs to actively look for another source of water,” said Ellen Porter, the director of environmental affairs for Roseburg who led the company’s negotiations with the city. “Roseburg is not in a position to guarantee the availability of that water for a long period of time.”

For the past 50 years, the company charged the city $1 a year for use of water from the Beaughan Spring. As of July, it began charging $97,500 annually. A contract signed this year directs the city to look for alternative sources.

Roseburg has not made public what it plans to do with the water it wants to take back from the city. But it already sells water to Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring, which bottles it in Weed and ships it as far away as Japan. Crystal Geyser is looking to increase its overall supply.

Residents of Weed, including the current mayor and three former mayors, say the water was always intended for municipal and domestic use and should not be sold to the highest bidder.

“The corporate mentality is that they can make more money selling this water to Japan,” said Bob Hall, a former mayor of Weed and currently a member of the City Council. “We were hooked at the hip with this company for years,” he said of the timber company, the largest private employer in the area. “Now, they are taking advantage of people who can’t defend themselves.”

Bottled-water plants have met with resistance and in some cases protests in a number of places across California, including a Nestlé plant last year in Sacramento. In the water-rich towns in the shadow of Mount Shasta, residents have raised concerns over proposed bottling plants that they say could severely diminish local water supplies.

A measure on the ballot in the November election in Siskiyou County, where the towns are, would for the first time require that companies obtain permits to export water.

The disputes echo California’s broader water wars. Five years of drought have escalated competition among farmers, factories and residents over water use and have pitted the arid south against the more water-rich north.

“Water is money,” said David Webb, a resident of the city of Mount Shasta who follows the water disputes in the area. “If you can get it, you can make money from it.”

Bob Hall, a Weed city councilman, at one of the local springs that provide the city's water. Photo: Jim Wilson/New York Times

Bob Hall, a Weed city councilman, at one of the local springs that provide the city’s water. Photo: Jim Wilson/New York Times

The mayor of Weed, Ken Palfini, says the value of the city’s water was emphasized during a visit several weeks ago by Pierre Papillaud, the founder of the company that owns Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring. In what the mayor and another participant described as a tirade of abuse, Mr. Papillaud demanded that the city give up its spring water so that his company could have more.

“He said if he didn’t get his way, he was going to blow up the bottling plant,” Mr. Palfini said of Mr. Papillaud’s visit. “He said that twice.”

Mr. Papillaud’s son Ronan Papillaud came to Weed in mid-September to apologize for the brusque treatment and to rescind his father’s demands. But Mr. Palfini said it was a lesson on how small municipalities in the area need to protect themselves from water-hungry companies.

“They are just corporations,” Mr. Palfini said. “They are not your friend.”

Residents of Weed, which is still rebuilding after a major wildfire two years ago, say they believe that their dispute with Roseburg will end in the courts and that they have a document showing that the previous owner of Roseburg’s timber business here, International Paper, handed over water rights to the city in 1982.

But they describe a David and Goliath battle between Roseburg, a wealthy corporation capable of paying for high-powered lawyers, and a relatively poor city with just 2,700 people.

Residents in Weed followed the legal battles of Missoula, Mont., where the State Supreme Court ruled in August that the city could seize water from a private company by eminent domain to secure the municipal water supply.

The alternative to legal proceedings for now is to drill a new well at a cost of around $2 million, according to Ron Stock, the Weed city administrator.

Roseburg has suggested a site on its property, but city officials say it is potentially dangerous: The well would be located a few hundred yards from a former wood treatment facility that is contaminated with highly toxic chemicals including arsenic. The facility, which is managed by Roseburg, was fenced off in 1986 and has been declared a Superfund site.

Because of the complex hydrology of the area, including lava tubes that carry water in various directions under the mountains, the city would not know whether the water was safe until it drilled a test well, Mr. Stock said.

“The city has to be very careful,” he said. “We don’t want a Flint, Mich., situation.”

Ms. Porter, the Roseburg representative, said the proposed well site was “well outside any area of contamination.”

In an interview at the company’s timber plant outside Weed, where logs are spun and shaved into thin sheets used for plywood, Ms. Porter blamed Mr. Hall, the city councilor, and others in the city for casting Roseburg in a bad light.

“We are becoming the corporate bad guy, and that’s really unfortunate,” she said. The city already has wells that serve around half the population, she said.

Ronan Papillaud, the president of CG Roxane, which owns Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring together with a Japanese pharmaceutical company, Otsuka, was also defensive when asked about his company’s plans.

“We do not belong in this story,” Mr. Papillaud said. “We are not depriving anyone of anything.” CG Roxane has bought water from Roseburg since the late 1990s and dedicates one of its production lines in its Weed plant to bottling water bound for Japan.

Mr. Papillaud described his deal with Roseburg as a simple relationship between a buyer and seller.

“Is this blood water? Are they involved in child labor?” he asked rhetorically. “We are clients, end of story.”

Watching the water dispute warily are members of the Winnemem Wintu, a small Native American tribe that considers the slopes of Mount Shasta sacred.

According to tribal beliefs, one of the springs on the mountain is the place where animals and mankind emerged into the world. Six years ago, for the first time in the oral history of the tribe, that spring dried up, according to Luisa Navejas, a tribe member.

The water around Mount Shasta is not limitless, she said.

“This mountain is calling us now, and we need to listen,” Ms. Navejas said of the inactive volcano.

“This mountain will talk,” she said. “The time will come.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/us/california-drought-weed-mount-shasta.html?emc=eta1

Alliance’s Ruth Caplan and Nancy Price on WBAI’s “Eco-Logic”

On Tuesday, AfD’s co-chair Nancy Price and Defending Water for Life campaign chair Ruth Caplan were guests on Eco-Logic, broadcast on WBAI in New York City. Ruth and Nancy were joined on the show by Susan Shapiro, of the Radiation and Public Health Project. You can listen to the show on WBAI’s online archive

      1. here
; the conversation starts around 15 minutes in.

The show focused on the safety of our drinking water, a topic that’s gotten more media attention in the last month due to ongoing crises with lead contamination in Flint and before that, shutoffs in Detroit, and the damage done there and elsewhere by austerity measures that seek to balance city and state budgets by putting the most economically-vulnerable citizens at risk. But as the guests emphasize, the problems with access to water and water contamination go far beyond one state or a few cities. Nancy, Ruth and Susan talk about the past, present and potential impacts of Wall Street deals, privatization, the nuclear industry, and international trade agreements.

As California Water Infrastructure Crumbles, Water Districts Consider Wasting $1.2 Billion on the Delta Tunnels

Stockton, CA – Opponents of the Delta Tunnels today questioned the wisdom of state water districts investing another $1.2 billion in the plan while local water infrastructure in Santa Clara Valley and Los Angeles continues to leak and burst.

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday, “Silicon Valley’s largest water provider will have to spend at least $20 million to drain, test and repair a critical water pipeline that failed last summer and may have more hidden problems.” The ruptured 8-foot-high, 31-mile-long concrete pipe brings up to 40 percent of the drinking water to Santa Clara County’s 1.8 million residents from the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County.

In Los Angeles, leaking water mains and pipes lose eight billion gallons of water each year. The repairs to the Los Angeles water system will cost rate payers at least $1.3 billion and take at least a decade to fix.

State Needs Another $1.2 Billion to Keep the Tunnels Alive
Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the state Natural Resources Agency, has told both urban and agricultural water districts she will soon request from them another $1.2 billion to fund engineering and design studies for the proposed Delta Tunnels project.



Fix LA and Santa Clara Valley First!
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said:

”It’s absurd that the Santa Clara Valley Water District would even consider moving forward with raising millions of dollars from ratepayers to advance the Delta Tunnels project when they cannot maintain their own existing water infrastructure. The tunnels project, misnamed California Water Fix, and their propaganda arm, Californians for Water Security, sell the Delta Tunnels as needed to save California’s water supply when, in truth, the Delta is not the weak link in the water delivery system. Californians lose 10 to 15 percent of our water supply each year due to water main breaks and leaky pipes in urban areas.

“It is also ironic that pipes laid just 30 years ago by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are already corroded and breaking apart. If we cannot build and maintain an 8-foot pipe in the Santa Clara Valley Water District, what can we expect with two Delta tunnels, 40 feet wide, built in peat soil?

“Let’s instead spend precious ratepayer dollars to fix the decaying LA and Santa Clara Valley Water infrastructure before considering a massive new proposal with an Environmental Impact Report the EPA has already issued a failing grade of ‘inadequate’.”

Source: As California Water Infrastructure Crumbles, Water Districts Consider Wasting $1.2 Billion on the Delta Tunnels
, Advocates Say “Fix LA and Santa Clara First!”

Will New Federal Law Facilitate Privatization of US Water?

By Carey Biron, Mint Press News | 30 May 14

Link to original article.

 major piece of legislation funding the development and improvement of water-related infrastructure passed Congress last week for the first time in nearly a decade, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill soon.

Yet public interest groups warn that a key provision in the law would complicate public investment in drinking water and wastewater systems in big cities and small towns alike. The end result, they say, would be to strengthen privately-managed or -owned water systems while leaving the federal government to take on the risk of these investments—essentially subsidizing water privatization.

“This law will facilitate the privatization of water systems and prioritize funding for privatized systems,” Mary Grant, a researcher for the water program at Food & Water Watch, a watchdog group here, told MintPress News.

“The basic problem is that it will only fund up to 45 percent of project costs, but also stipulates that the rest cannot be made up through the use of tax-exempt bonds,” Grant continued. “Yet such bonds are the primary way in which local governments fund infrastructure projects, so why would they try to make use of this funding?”

The broader law, agreed upon by large majorities in both the House and Senate over the past week following a year of negotiation, is known as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. The full bill authorizes funding for a spectrum of new water infrastructure projects—particularly around ports and waterways, including flood protection and restoration—worth some $12.3 billion, though this money will still have to go through an appropriations process.

Assuming that President Obama signs it, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act will be the first such water-related funding package to become law since 2007. Even then, the 2007 bill passed over the threat of veto from President George W. Bush, primarily due to budgetary concerns. As with any large funding bill, the act has received criticism from conservatives worried that Congress will not be able to provide adequate oversight for what they expect to be a frenzy of project requests.

The bill also includes provisions aimed at dealing with what experts say is a multi-billion-dollar funding gap for drinking water and wastewater systems across the country. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that some $384 billion in improvements would be needed in U.S. drinking water infrastructure over the next two decades. The EPA also found that many of the country’s 73,400 water systems are between 50 to 100 years old.

“[T]he nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacement era in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life,” EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said at the time. “This is a major issue that must be addressed so that American families continue to have the access they need to clean and healthy water sources.”

While Congress is receiving widespread plaudits for finally acting on this shortfall, critics are worried that the final law will be detrimental to communities across the country.

Dwindling Public Funding

According to data provided by Food & Water Watch, federal spending on improvements to drinking water and wastewater systems since the late 1970s have dwindled by some 80 percent. Since the late 1990s, the group says, federal grants have offered just $15 billion for this purpose.

In 2012, dozens of federal lawmakers wrote to the congressional leadership to highlight this situation, citing rising concerns among mayors, public water systems directors and others. The lawmakers noted that federal funding for water systems made up just three percent of total costs, down from 78 percent 35 years earlier. This shortfall, they warned, leaves “cities and towns across the country bearing the difficult challenge of pulling together funds for public water systems.”

The new Water Resources Reform and Development Act does attempt to ameliorate this problem, making available $175 million in funding over five years. But the part of the law that focuses on this issue, known as the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, does so primarily by steering communities toward public-private partnerships.

It is unclear whether this is by design. As Food & Water Watch’s Grant notes, a central issue is the fact that the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act does not allow communities to raise funding for infrastructure through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, a process that the watchdog group says has raised more than $1.6 trillion for local and state infrastructure projects over the past decade.

It appears, however, that this option was only removed after negotiations with an eye toward the federal deficit, following a budgetary “scoring” by the Congressional Budget Office. Groups representing the municipal water sector say the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act won’t work for their members.

“We have huge wastewater infrastructure needs, so we’ve been supportive of having more tools in the toolbox to help communities pay for upgrades and new projects,” Hannah Mellman, legislative manager at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, a lobby group that represents the municipal wastewater sector, told MintPress.

“Yet the tax-exempt bond exemption will make [the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] pretty unworkable for our members. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t use [the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act], but if they can’t finance their side of projects with tax-exempt bonds we don’t see how it will be usable. So we’re disappointed to see that in the final bill.”

Funding criteria under the bill will also be different than under traditional federal water assistance. For instance, the latter has always been in part based on issues related to public health, but the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act requires no such consideration. Instead, criteria for funding under the act will include issues that strike some observers as odd — for instance, how much of the money would go to areas with significant energy development, or whether the projects already have private financing partners.

Access and Equity

On the one hand, then, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act likely will not offer communities large or small the funding required to address the water infrastructure needs that the federal government admits are necessary and widespread. On the other hand, watchdog groups say the bill’s impact could be more far-ranging still, touching on issues of access and equity.

“We are alarmed by the implications of this bill, which would open the doors to an increase in water public-private partnerships in the U.S. and effectively subsidize water privatization,” Erin Diaz, the director of Public Water Works!, a campaign at Corporate Accountability International, told MintPress in a statement.

“The privatization of water systems around the globe has often resulted in devastating results for the economy and people—rate hikes, layoffs, labor abuses, environmental damage and public safety risks—all while failing to invest in essential infrastructure.”

In 2012, Diaz’s office published an exhaustive report on the international experience of water privatization over the past two decades. With a focus on the World Bank’s role in this issue and a call for the multilateral lender to divest from private water companies worldwide (it has yet to do so), the report undermines the central rationale in favor of privatization: that corporate efficiency leads to lower operating costs.

Such findings have come up repeatedly in the U.S., as well, with surveys finding that investor-owned utilities in dozens of U.S. states charge around one-third more than those owned by the public.

Profit-driven systems also experience problems in deciding where to extend service. Driven by profit rather than public access, companies have at times proved reluctant, for instance, to provide services in low-income areas or very small communities.

Indeed, Grant says this was one of the original reasons that U.S. water infrastructure—much of which was originally privately owned—was taken over by the public sector during the early twentieth century. As this trend has reversed in some places over recent decades, similar concerns have again cropped up.

“Though water privatization remains fairly rare, there has been a lot of work on the part of private utilities trying to expand their operations,” Grant said.

“In West Virginia, for instance, a private water utility has been buying up other utilities, and the result has been smaller households have struggled in attempts to force the company to serve their areas. The company was also trying to cut back on its investments after the state government wouldn’t allow the rate increases it wanted to impose.”

Meanwhile, even as lawmakers are undercutting municipalities’ ability to raise money for water infrastructure from tax-exempt bonds, lobby attempts have made some headway in pushing Congress to remove legal caps on the levels to which bonds to fund private activity would be allowed in the water sector. In mid-May, senators formally proposed removing limits on what are known as private activity bonds for water-related projects, prompting applause from the National Association of Water Companies, a group that lobbies on behalf of water companies.

Lifting these caps would “open the floodgates to financing water privatization projects, effectively subsidized by taxpayers,” Corporate Accountability International’s Diaz told MintPress.

“This interference, present at every level of government, is just one small part of the private water industry’s strategy to expand its market across the U.S.,” said Diaz. “The provisions in [the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] that could provide public financing to private water are just one example of the many policy avenues the private water industry pursues to privatize water and weaken its greatest competitor—publicly-controlled and democratically-governed water systems.”

Federal report gauges U.S. impacts of global warming

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 12:06 p.m. EDT May 6, 2014

Link to original article and video

Global warming is affecting where and how Americans live and work, and evidence is mounting that burning fossil fuels has made extreme weather such as heat waves and heavy precipitation much more likely in the USA, according to a massive federal report released Tuesday at the White House.

 

“Climate change is here and now, and not in some distant time or place,” said Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, one of the authors of the 1,100-page National Climate Assessment (NCA), the largest, most comprehensive U.S.-focused climate change report ever produced.

 

“The choices we’re making today will have a significant impact on our future,” Hayhoe said.

 

The assessment was prepared by hundreds of the USA’s top scientists. It agreed with a recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the planet is warming, mostly because of human activity.

 

The assessment provides “the loudest and clearest alarm bell to date” for immediate and aggressive climate action, said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

 

“All Americans will find things that matter to them in this report,” added Jerry Melillo, chair of the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee.

 

“Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience,” the U.S. report stated. “So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York and native peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska.”

 

MORE: Stories on weathering the change

 

SPECIAL REPORT: Why you should sweat climate change

 

While scientists continue to refine projections of the future climate, observations unequivocally show that the climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These emissions come mainly from the burning of coal, oil and gas, the report states.

 

“If people took the time to read the report, they would see that it is not necessarily about polar bears, whales or butterflies,” said meteorologist Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia. “I care about all of those, but the NCA is about our kids, dinner table issues, and our well being.”

 

 

The colors on the map show temperature changes over the past 22 years (1991-2012) compared with the 1901-1960 average for the contiguous U.S.(Photo: NOAA)

“We’re already seeing extreme weather and it’s happening now,” said study co-author Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois. “We’re seeing more heat waves, particularly in the West and in the South.”

 

Specifically, the three most significant threats from climate change in the USA are sea level rise along the coasts, droughts and fires in the Southwest and extreme precipitation events across the country.

 

The assessment was written by 300 scientists and other experts from academia; local, state and federal governments; the private sector; private citizens; and the non-profit sector. Representatives from oil companies such as ConocoPhillips and Chevron and environmental groups such as the Nature Conservancy endorsed the assessment’s findings.

 

“The National Climate Assessment brings to light new and stronger evidence of how climate change is already having widespread impacts across the United States,” according to Kevin Kennedy of the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.- based environmental group.

 

“Chevron recognizes and shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change,” said Chevron spokesperson Justin Higgs. “Chevron’s Arthur Lee was one of 60 committee members and 240 authors to assist in the compilation of this report. We recognize the importance of this issue and are committed to continued research and understanding.”

 

A vast majority of climate scientists — generally pegged at 97% — concur with the basics of the science behind climate change, though some still find flaws in the details. A report last week, for instance, in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change found that the impacts of extreme heat are often exaggerated.

 

The assessment is a federally mandated report prepared by the nation’s top scientists every four years for the president and Congress to review. This is the third report produced.

 

ORIGINAL SOURCE: National Climate Assessment

 

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinated the development of the NCA, which is exclusively focused on climate impacts to the United States, according to the requirements of the Global Change Research Act of 1990.

 

Contributing: Associated Press

 

 

Ten indicators of a warming world: These are just some of the indicators measured globally over many decades that show that the Earth’s climate is warming. White arrows indicate increasing trends; black arrows indicate decreasing trends.(Photo: NOAA)

Terrifying Worldwide Water Privatization Strategy

Back in 2011, we were made aware of this article which links the World Bank with several transnational corporate entities, including Nestle, to private water worldwide, but especially targeting countries with a lower socioeconomic status.  I was then informed by an expert source that it was not being spearheaded by the World Bank, but rather the World Economic Forum.

Then the other day, Nickie Seckera of Community Water Justice, who has been resisting Nestle’s expanding empire over the water in Fryeburg, sent along this information:

The Alliance for Water Stewardship offers a partnership with founding members as Nestlé, Unilever, Veolia and many more to help secure the multinational corporate agenda of controlling groundwater resources.

Beware of organizations as this who claim to protect global water resources. For whom are they protecting it? Corporate-backed organizations as this are out for protection of their future profits in securing water sources all over the world for their dominance over local people. The prospects of commodification and control could change how we access drinking water for all future generations. As we know, they are not out for the common good but for profit – and the highest bidder will win access to life.

“The Alliance for Water Stewardship is a partnership of global leaders in sustainable water management who are dedicated to promoting responsible use of freshwater that is socially, economically and environmentally beneficial. AWS drives collective responses to shared water challenges through its stakeholder-endorsed international Water Stewardship Standard. AWS’s Founding Partners are American Standard, CDP, Centre for Responsible Business, Centro del Agua para America Latina y el Caribe, Ecolab, European Water Partnership, Fundacion Chile, Fundacion FEMSA, Future500, General Mills, The Gold Standard Foundation, Hindustan Unilever Foundation, Inghams, Marks & Spencer, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Nestle, Pacific Institute, Sealed Air, United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, The Nature Conservancy, The Water Council, Veolia, Water Environment Foundation, Water Footprint Network, Water Stewardship Australia, Water Witness International, WaterAid and WWF.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-global-organizations-pledge-to-support-water-stewardship-2014-04-08?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Thank you Nickie for your outstanding work.

Anacortes/A town in-between

Sandra Spargo, Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin, Anacortes, Wash.

Dec. 12, 2012

Will Anacortes’ push for manufacturing jobs on Fidalgo Island take us back to the future, as seen in the mill picture to the right?

A town in-between by local author William Dietrich was published in the Seattle Times’ Pacific Northwest Magazine on Feb. 20, 2005.  The article’s excerpts include the following:
  • With its industrial legacy and recreational future, Anacortes remains confused about where it goes next. Despite the presence of some beautiful waterfront parks, most of its shoreline is still relegated to industry. City officials want to draw middle-wage boat builders, not barristas and barmaids. Nor is Anacortes willing to take anything that comes along. Citizens voted to block a third grocery store because it would occupy land originally cleared for industry and was too far from the downtown core. Many testified against welcoming a luxury-yacht builder onto public port land, so the company went to Port Angeles instead.
  • “We’re not in a hurry,” says Mayor Maxwell. “We don’t have to do backflips to attract business. If Anacortes stays the way it is, that’s just fine.” A long line of fast-talking promoters has come to town with dubious dreams, little capital and less delivery.
What direction will Tethys Enterprises’ bottling plant take Anacortes and Skagit Valley?
Does a one-million-square-foot beverage bottling plant–along with its trucks and trains–
fit Anacortes and Skagit Valley’s culture, lifestyle and environment?
 
Steve Winter, CEO of Tethys Enterprises, states on Go Skagit (Sept. 14, 2012) that his plan “is to create a ‘center of gravity’ for the beverage industry in Anacortes that would attract a bevy of suppliers and service businesses, similar to how the presence of Boeing established a ring of support industries to northwest Washington.”

Winter states the following in the Skagit Valley Herald of Sun., Dec. 9, 2012:
  • The huge advantage that we will have is the ability to instantaneously produce product for the entire western United States. So when a company wants to do a brand introduction, they can come to one company–to our company–and have us manufacture a product for the entire western United States. 
 What is the definition of the “western United States?”
Regional definitions vary from source to source. As defined by theCensus Bureau, the western United States includes 13 states: AlaskaArizonaCaliforniaColoradoHawaiiIdahoMontanaNevadaNew MexicoOregonUtahWashington, and Wyoming. In turn, this region is sub-divided into Mountain and Pacific areas. The states in light red, particularly the Plains States, are sometimes considered “western,” although they are often grouped with separate regions such as theMidwest and the South. (Wikipedia)

Moreover, previous to the Anacortes contract, Tethys courted the City of Everett for five million gallons of water per day from Spada Lake to produce bottled water. During the failed courtship, Tethys hired Jason Jenkins to produce a pre-contractual promotional video. The video starred Mayor Ray Stephanson. He stated that Everett has the capacity to fill the entire bottled water demand for the western U.S., and Everett’s rail and deepwater port give easy and low-cost access to western U. S. and Asian markets. —  By the way, Everett, Bellingham and Anacortes offer deepwater ports for Asian export of bottled water/beverages. See Tethys’ promotional video at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19y5bxfbF2Q

More to come . . .