[env-trinity] Siskiyou Daily: City of Weed fears water shortage
tstokely at att.net
Tue Feb 23 13:32:00 PST 2016
http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20160223/NEWS/160229949By Sarah Kirby
skirby at siskiyoudaily.comFebruary 23. 2016 7:39AM
City of Weed fears water shortage
The mayor of Weed has declared the need for an emergency city council meeting that is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Weed City Hall, 550 Main St.; the meeting is an opportunity for discussion regarding the city of Weed's lease with Roseburg Forest Products for the city's use of the of the Beaughan and Little Beaughan Springs water that will discontinue as of June 29.The mayor of Weed has declared the need for an emergency city council meeting that is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Weed City Hall, 550 Main St.; the meeting is an opportunity for discussion regarding the city of Weed’s lease with Roseburg Forest Products for the city’s use of the of the Beaughan and Little Beaughan Springs water that will discontinue as of June 29.
The 50 year long lease that began in 1966 allowed the city of Weed to use 2.0 cubic feet per second of the Beaughan Springs water for the city’s principal water source. According to a press release from the city, in 1959 the lumber mill was owned by International Paper.
The release states that International Paper wanted to subdivide the town of Weed to sell off lots for homes to be created for residents; however, the State of California required International Paper to provide a water source and a sewer service to the homes cause International Paper was a wholly-owned subsidiary, which means that the company was completely owned by a parent company. As such, International Paper created the California non-profit Weed Water Company states the press release, and the California Public Utilities Commission ran the charges of the company and regulated the Weed Water Company rates. Weed became a city in 1961.
In 1966 the Weed Water Company sold to the City of Weed all of its assets; nonetheless, this agreement did not include the water rights and particular spring rights, which includes the Beaughan Springs, on the land, the release states.
Yet, in order to persuade the City of Weed to continue with the purchasing of the company, the Weed Water Company provided the City of Weed with a 50 year lease to use 2.0 cubic feet per second from the Beaughan Springs for domestic and municipal purposes.
According to an article titled, “Roseburg Forest Products files suit in water rights case” published in the Siskiyou Daily News on August 24, 2014, the spring produced 4.07 cubic feet per second in 1932.
“The story began before 1914 with the Long Bell Lumber Company procuring an appropriative right to 4.07 cubic feet per second from the Beaughan Waters, an amount identified in a 1932 judicial decree with the Siskiyou court that was 4 cubic feet of water,” the article states.
Since obtaining this lease, International Paper was bought by Roseburg Forest Products, which is now the owner of the mill and the spring. Roseburg Forest Products still uses the spring water for their own production purposes, and Roseburg has sold a share of their 2.0 cubic feet per second of the Beaughan Springs to the Crystal Geyser Roxane company for their water bottling needs. An article published on Nov 20, 2014 in the Mount Shasta Herald titled, “Roseburg and Weed see water rights from separate shores,” mentions that Roseburg Forest Products noticed that the Beaughan Spring was producing less water than before.
“The company’s Beaughan Spring water flow has dropped 25 percent, according to Hultgren, forcing Roseburg to adjust its consumption,” states the MSH article.
The 50 year lease for the city of Weed will be up at the end of June, and while the city has gone through at least five years of negotiations with Roseburg Forest Products and nine months of formal mediation, the city has been unable to reach a compromise with the company, according to the release. As such, as of June 29, the City of Weed must discontinue use of the Beaughan Springs water by law.
If such events transpire, then the City of Weed is considering declaring that it will be in a state of emergency in relation to water, since the city will not be able to provide municipal and domestic water to residents who live or work north of Division Street, according to the City of Weed’s Press Release.
The areas that will be affected include the Weed Elementary School and Weed High School, according to the press release. The city was aware of negotiations going awry, and as a preparatory measure has already engaged in a contract with PACE Engineering to find alternatives. Citizens are invited to attend the city council meeting to share their viewpoints regarding the matter.
City of Weed (530) 938-5020 (530) 938-5096 (FAX)
WATER SITUATION FOR THE CITY OF WEED - SUMMARY AND TIMELINE
The Mayor of Weed has called a special meeting for February 24, 2016 to discuss an issue that threatens to create conditions of extreme peril to the health and safety of the citizens and property within the City. The contract between the City of Weed and its principal water source expires June 29, 2016. The City has negotiated in good faith for more than five years for an extension of the lease or, as an alternative, has offered to purchase the water rights. The City has also participated in formal mediation for more than nine months. The City has been unable to secure an extension of the lease. On June 29, the City will discontinue the use of Beaughan Springs water as required by law.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:1905 - The principal water source for the City of Weed is established, 2 cubic feet per second adjudicated for municipal and domestic purposes from Beaughan Springs.
1959 - International Paper, the owner of the lumber mill, seeks permission from the State of California to subdivide the town of Weed and sell off the lots and homes to the residents. The State requires that International Paper create a wholly-owned subsidiary to provide water and sewer service to these homes as a condition of approval for subdivision. International Paper then creates the Weed Water Company, a California non-profit company, and the rates and charges of this company are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
1961 - The City of Weed is formed.
1966 - The Weed Water Company sells all of its assets to the City of Weed. The sale agreement specifically excludes from the sale “all water rights and certain springs and land on which the springs were located.” However, the seller, for consideration and to affect the sale of assets, grants to the City of Weed a fifty (50) year lease on the 2 cubic feet of water in Beaughan Springs adjudicated for municipal and domestic purposes.
2011 – Negotiations for lease extension begin.
2015 -- Formal mediation occurs for a period of more than nine months for an extension of the lease.
2016 – February 24, Emergency Declaration considered by City Council.
2016 – June 27 (anticipated), cases of drinking water will be provided at the City Maintenance Facility
2016 -- June 29 (anticipated), the City will discontinue the use of Beaughan Springs water as required by law.
2016 – June 29 and July 2 (anticipated), drinking water will be distributed door-to-door in the North. Additional distributions will occur weekly thereafter.
MOVING FORWARD:When the City loses access to these water rights, the City will be unable to provide domestic and municipal water to its residents living and working North of Division Street, including the High School and the Elementary School. In addition, although the City may maintain adequate water for basic needs for those residents living and working North and East of I-5 and the Central Business District, the City will be unable to provide sufficient water pressure for firefighting.
The City has some modest, additional water resources South of I-5 due to the assistance of the State in drilling a new water well in 2015. However, the City has no way to transport these water resources to the City’s water tanks on School House Hill. Even if the City were able to transport its excess water resources to these tanks, the City has insufficient water resources to fully meet the needs of citizens and customers.
The City, in anticipation of the failure of negotiations, has previously contracted with PACE Engineering to look at alternatives.
IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS:1. Adopt the Emergency Declaration to provide the City’s leadership with sufficient authorization to deal with the pending health and safety crisis.
2. Authorize the City Administrator to lease five to seven water trucks to transport water from the South to the North. The average daily consumption in the North half of the City’s system is 350,000 gallons a day. The capacity of a water truck is 4,000 gallons. Therefore, if the City obtains authorization from the County to divert some water from the Carrick Subdivision, it is estimated that there will be a need for 45 truckloads of water to be delivered from the South to the North on a daily basis.
3. Authorize the City Administrator to lease a water truck to be prepositioned in the Central Business District to provide sufficient water to fight a structure fire.
4. Authorize the Public Works Director to employ temporary employees as truck drivers during this immediate response period.
5. It is anticipated that the City will be required to post a boil water notice for the North system due to the potential for contamination of the water supply (multiple handling), thus the City Council will be asked to authorize the Public Works Director to purchase and distribute bottled water at no cost to City residents in the North. Cases will be provided at the City Maintenance Facility beginning Monday, June 27th and will be distributed door-to-door in the North on Wednesday, June 29th, and Saturday July 2nd. Additional distributions will occur weekly thereafter.
6. The Emergency Declaration authorizes the Mayor to impose strict water restrictions throughout the City. It is anticipated by June 1stthat these water restrictions will be imposed. Because the City will not have sufficient water resources to meet every need, these water restrictions will limit water usage to human consumption. In other words, City water can be used for laundry, bathroom, and kitchen uses, and to water a vegetable garden, but water cannot be used to irrigate lawns, to wash cars, or to operate a co-generation plant.
7. Approve a contract with PACE Engineering in the amount of $55,000 to submit a grant application for $1.5M from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to construct the pipeline bypass between Bel Air and the Hillside Pressure Zones, the recommended temporary emergency construction proposed in PACE’s letter of February 10th.
8. Authorize the City Administrator to contract with Enplan to complete the documentation necessary to support a CEQA Exemption and authorize the Mayor to sign the Declaration of Exemption for recording.
9. Authorize the City Administrator to submit the $1.5million grant and execute any and all documents necessary to obtain funding.
10. Authorize the City Administrator to submit a grant application for funding from the Proposition 84 Emergency funds in an amount of $250,000 to pay for the bottled water distribution and the water trucks necessary for temporary service.
11. Authorize the City Administrator to negotiate with Cal-Trans and the Railroad to place the pipeline bypass under Highway 97, I-5, and the Rail Line.
12. Authorize the City Administrator to negotiate and acquire an easement to construct the pipeline bypass up the hill.
13. Authorize the Mayor to execute a contract to construct the pipeline bypass on a time and material basis without competitive bid.
FUTURE ACTIONS:As these steps only provide a temporary solution, an alternative water supply equal to 2 cubic feet per second needs to be developed or acquired by the City. This is likely to take years, if even possible, and the severe water restrictions will have to remain in place until such time as an alternative water supply is developed or acquired. There is no guarantee that an alternative water source other than the Beaughan Springs water can be developed or acquired.
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