- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Albion Nation - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Read Supervisor’s Proclamation  or First Permit evaluation  or

 what action to take or Media Response or reference & links or some of the early communications   or the history and schedule

or Water Background Information

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

***** Anti-Commodification Water bill in CA state legislature

Bill to provide local control over water; Albion-Gualala inspired legislation is AB 2924.  Bill is in print and can be viewed from the Assembly bill tracking system on the internet.  Below is a link.

Just enter the bill number.




Sean MacNeil, Legislative Aide     916/319-2007

Assembly Member Patricia Wiggins

State Capitol, Room 4016 Sacramento, CA 95814

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Water Company Wants to Barge Albion Water to San Diego


        The California State Water Resources Board has received two applications from the Alaskan Water Export Company proposing to extract water from the Gualala River (Permit # 31194) and the Albion River (Permit # 31195) and barge it to San Diego. (This is not a joke.)

        The staff engineer at the Board (Division of Water Rights) for the Albion permit is Katherine Gaffney at 916-341-5360. The application is now undergoing review and will soon be noticed to the public for "comment" or, as they call it at the Water Board, "protest"- a word that has a certain resonance in Albion. If you want to receive a notice you can call Gaffney and she will put you on her list.

        For further information, call Albion River Watershed Protection Assn., Linda Perkins at 937-0903.

        Or check out the website for the Alaska company, http://www.worldwatersa.com.

I've pasted in a page from the website below.




                             Ric Davidge, President

                             Mr. Davidge is the former Director of Water and Chief of

                             the State of Alaska's Hydrologic Survey. Mr. Davidge

                             pioneered the development and feasibility of bulk water

                             sales from Alaska. After his departure from the state

                             agency Davidge started Alaska Water Exports, a

                             Division of Arctic Ice and Water Exports Inc. His

                             visionary report on trans-Pacific water exports from

                             Alaska was the first major report written on the subject

                             from a business perspective and has become well known

                             throughout the water development community around the



                             Mr. Davidge has an extensive background in federal,

                             state, and local government affairs and natural resource

                             development as well as the private sector. He served

                             former U.S. President Ronald Reagan as a sub-cabinet

                             official in the U.S. Department of Interior. Mr. Davidge

                             has also served as an advisor to a number of Alaska

                             governors, Mayors, and international commissions.


                             Zaher S. AlMunajjed

                             -Advisor to the President in ALJ Group

                             -Master of Business Administration from Harvard

                             -Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


                             Mr. Mikitoshi Kai

                             -Born in 1951 in Tokyo, Japan

                             -Graduated from Tokyo University, Law Faculty in 1976

                             -Joined NYK in 1976

                             -Working for "Team New Frontier" for NYK since

                             November of 1999

                             -Previously worked in Car Carrier, Planning, and

                             Container Divisions Assigned to the Embassy of Japan

                             in Denmark from 1983 to 1986

                             -Stationed as Owner's Representative in Seoul, Korea

                             from 1995 to 1998


             World Water, SA • 3705 Arctic Blvd., #415, Anchorage, Ak. 99503

                (907) 222-6927 phone • (907) 222-6933 fax • ricdav@gci.net



Water Background Information……………………………...top


JV Aquarius wins a further 2 year contract to the island of Aigina,

to deliver the quantity of one million cubic meter of water per year.



Water Incorporated - The commodification of the world's water

Earth Island Journal…..  by Maude Barlow 



Beyond a Drought, Water Worries Grow -  from 2/24/2002 NY Times

By ANDREW C. REVKIN: The current dry spell will end, but water

 managers are trying to stay ahead of long-term climate shifts.



What Alaska news thinks of Davidge 

Anchorage Daily News 2/17/02 | Alaska Ear | The Divine Appendage

Hot Waterbags at http://www.adn.com/alaska/story/765953p-818612c.html



Initial Conversations………………………………………….top


Back and forth between Deirdre & Davidge


From: Ric Davidge 

To: Deirdre Lamb Walsh 

Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2002 12:41 PM

Subject: RE: Albion water


Deirdre, Thank you for your comments.   I would like to point out a few facts you may not be aware of.   1.  All waters in the State of California belong to the state unless appropriated or reserved by federal withdrawals. 2.  Communities that have water are fast becoming the target of domestic immigration from communities that do not have water.  More and more towns are beginning to understand that their relative isolation over past decades will soon come to an end due to the demand for water and the ability of more people to work from their homes. 3.  The proposal we have made to the State of California is in response to a request of the City of San Diego for 20K AFY starting in 2004. 4.  Southern California (San Francisco to San Diego) is the fifth largest economy in the world.  It faces serious choices even though it has done a magnificent job in water conservation, get new water or start to die.  When people loose their jobs they move someplace where they can work and support their families.  The northern migration of Californians is well established. 5.  Although the water demand problem in Southern California is in part due to population growth, it is more due to the ongoing reallocation of water to upstream states and ESA listings.  So, you have growth projected by the state at 30% in less than 10 years due mainly to immigration (legal and illegal) and the water supply is not only not growing it isn't even static as water previously used for communities and industry is now being reallocated to upstream states and fish and wildlife.

6.  Our proposal is the most ecologically sound ever devised for such a water transfer.  Our water harvest system will have NO ecological impact on the river system or its associated environs.  The water will not leave the river until it enters the Pacific Ocean.   We look forward to meeting and discussing our proposal in your community.  We believe that we can defend the proposal on economic, ecological, and cultural grounds very well.  


Thank you for your comments.  

Ric Davidge President


From: Deirdre Lamb

To: Ric Davidge

Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 4:52    AM

Subject: Our water


   Dear Mr. Davidge, I appreciate your response regarding the Albion and Garcia river waters.   To respond, I am sorry San Diego does not have enough water. Too bad they didn't think about that when they were putting up all those condos, townhouses and homes with big lawns. We have thought a lot about it here, what with L-P, G-P and the Mendocino Redwood Companies clearcutting right up to the riverbeds. This has affected the fish, birds and wildlife in a drastic way. Most of the residents here have put up many a court    battle against them in order to preserve the nature and quality of life we feel is owed to our future generations as well as the fragile ecosystem around us.    True, many have migrated here to work from their homes, but not just because of the water. Say what you will, I do not see a huge increase in migration in this area because the price of homes is so high    and the acreage has mostly already been divided into the smallest increments allowed for our area. Most parcels in Albion are a five acre minimum, many are ten such as ours, so the chances of a huge increase in popularity is remote.    The migration has become a much more financially lucrative crowd that has moved here to enjoy a better lifestyle, and especially in the past five years there have been at least six multi-millionaires that have moved into the Albion watershed area.    I look forward to seeing what you propose and if    in fact it is true that the water will only be extracted after it hits the ocean.    Again, I look forward to seeing the exact plan of your companies' proposal for our area, as I am sure a lot of other residents are here as well.    I will pass the information you sent along, and look forward to keeping in communication regarding this in the future.


Sincerely, Deirdre Lamb Walsh   


From: Ric Davidge

To: 'Deirdre Lamb Walsh'

Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 12:51 PM

Subject: RE: Our water


Deirdre, Thank you so much for your continuing contribution.  I spent a few days in Albion and have to say it is a delightful community.   As a former deputy assistant secretary of the department of Interior for fish, wildlife, and parks I have a keen understanding of the values of these resources and the cultures of communities such as Albion and others I visited in 2000.   The State of California has yet to send me a copy of what they published regarding our applications.  I am therefore at some disadvantage.  Once I receive the notice and know the schedule I will try and make some time to meet with you and friends that would like some time for face-to-face discussion.   Public meetings are fine and of course required, but I find it much more productive to sit down in someone's living room and talk with groups of 10 or less.   I look forward to our meeting.  


May you find peace and fulfillment?  

Ric Davidge President



Proposed selling of Albion River    1/22/02     Turtle Time Farm


After reading the letter sent by Alaskan Water Export Co.'s president, Rick Davidge to Deirdre Lamb, I went back to the spring 2002 issue of Earth Island Journal (can be read at their website www.earthisland.org) and read Water Incorporated by Maude Barlow.


Here are three pertinent paragraphs:


Fortune magazine notes that "water will be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th." 

Who owns water and how much they are able to charge for it will become the question of the century.  The privatization of water is already a $400 billion a year business.  Multinational corporations hope to increase profits from water commodification even further by using international trade and investment agreements to control its flow and supply.  One Canadian water company, Global Water Corp., puts it best: "Water has moved from being an endless commodity that may be taken for granted to a rationed necessity that may be taken by force."




With the support of international trade agreements, these companies are setting their sights on the mass transport of water by pipeline and supertanker.  Several companies are developing technology to pump fresh water into huge sealed bags to be towed across the oceans for sale.

The U.S. Global Water Corp., a Canadian company, has signed an agreement with Sitka, Alaska, to export 18 billion gallons of glacier water per year to China. It would then be bottled for export in one of China's "free trade" zones to take advantage of cheap labor.  The company brochure entices investors "to harvest the accelerating opportunity... as traditional sources of water around the world become progressively depleted and degraded."




Corporations already have begun suing governments to gain access to domestic water sources.  The first such NAFTA Chapter 11 case (Sun Belt Water Inc. vs. Canada) was filed in the fall of 1998. Sun Belt Water Inc. Santa Barbara, Calif., filed suit after losing a contract to deliver Canadian water to California when British Columbia banned the export of bulk water in 1991.  Sun Belt is seeking $220 million in damages.  However, SunBelt appears more interested in access to BC's water than the $220 million.  As SunBelt's CEO Jack Lindsay explained, " Because of NAFTA, we are now stakeholders in the national water policy of Canada.




Read the article, there is a lot more about this latest corporate takeover of our basic human needs.  If there is to be a "dialogue" with Alaskan Water Export Co., we need to be informed about this new industry.  What are the legal rights of a small community protecting their water sources?  Also I'm puzzled by Davidge's statement that the" water will not leave the river until it enters the Pacific Ocean."  Since the Albion is a tidal river how can they get fresh water anywhere near the mouth of the river?


There is a lot to be discussed here. San Diego needs water.  Albion has water but will it destroy our ecology to "mine" it?  And certainly corporations should not be the one's to orchestrate the exchange of water at tremendous profit to themselves.


Let's talk about this.

Carmen Goodyear



Barged water out of the Albion?  While there may be some surplus water during some high flow periods of the year, my focus goes to the marine transport, i.e. the size of the barge, how it would be loaded, its draft, the size of the tug, etc.  I honestly doubt that the tug and barge could enter the river, and that any loading would have to be done while moored in the Bay.  Please keep me in the information loop.  I keep up on my reading from my tug-shipping-maritime and stevedore days and have a pretty good hand on what they can and cannot do.      Norman De Vall


Time Line……………………………………………..…..……top


Public Notices of Note:


1/29 Publication in ……

1/29 5 folks on KZYX community call in show

1/30 Sacramento Bee publication by Stuart Leavenworth

1/31 David Colfax, supervisor, on KZYX evening community news – going to see attorney + Winona Stockdale from state water board

2/5   Radio interview with KQED

2/12 Radio interview with R. Davidge on KZYX Environment show with Hawk

2/13 Public discussion on KZYX community comment show at 9:00AM

2/13  Public interview with Los Angeles Times staff in Gualala and Albion

2/14  Public meeting with 30 people at Albion School

2/15  Public meeting at Stanford Inn with supervisors Colfax and Campbell plus 2 coastal commissioners and 2 planning commissioners.

2/19  Gualala Watershed Council meeting

2/19  Katherine Gaffneyof CSWRB informed Linda Perkins that applications required further documentation and would not be complete for review until late March when 60 day comment cycle would begin.

2/20  Albion Salmon Creek Watershed Council meeting in Comptche school at 6:00 to 8:00

2/21  Informal meeting at Gualala Arts Center @ 7:00PM

2/28  Public meeting at Albion School @ 7:00PM

3/9    NCWAP Gualala Public Workshop 9:30 am - 4:00 pm


3/14  SORE - Save Our Rivers and Estuaries presents


The Ecology and Politics of Water Export at the Gualala Art Center, Thursday, March 14, 7 pm - 9 pm;  invited speakers are:


Nancy Price, Alliance for Democracy :

Water and Basic Water Rights in the World Trade Agreements

Frank Arundel, activist :

Expert Witnesses, EIRs and the Mojave Water Grab

Peter Baye, Ph.D., coastal plant eologist :

Estuary Ecology and the Permit Process


The community is invited. There will be time for questions after

each section. This meeting is a preparation for the Sea Ranch Forum with Ric Davidge.

For further information please contact Ursula Jones 785-3431


3/16 Public meeting at Sea Ranch with R. Davidge   3:00-5:00 PM

Saturday March 16, 2002   3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Event Location: Del Mar Center, Highway 1, Mile 56.88

Notes: Ric Davidge will present and take questions re the water bag proposal.






Mendocino Beacon     1/31/02

Press Democrat           1/29/02      1/30/02

Sacramento Bee          1/30/02      2/18/02

L.A. Times                    3/02/02



From the Sacramento Bee  ………………………………Media


Firm's water wish: Ship it south

        by Stuart Leavenworth -- Bee Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2002



In a further sign that water may one day be more valuable than oil, an Alaska company is seeking permission to draw water from two Northern California rivers, pump it onto massive transport bags, and tow it to San Diego with tugboats.


Alaska Water Exports, an Anchorage company headed by the former chief of Alaska's water department, has filed two applications with the State Water Resources Control Board to draw water from the Albion and Gualala rivers and ship it south.


State officials say it is the first time anyone has seriously pursued such a project.


"It is a creative proposal," said Myrlys Stockdale, a spokeswoman for the water control board. "I've talked to folks who have been around here for years, and they can't remember an application like this."


Some North Coast residents are already gearing up to fight the proposal, which they call a "water grab" that could hurt salmon runs and tourism.


"The question everyone here wants to know is: Why Albion?" said Linda Perkins, a longtime resident of the tiny Mendocino County town. "The Albion River is a little podunk river. Why did they pick this one?"


Ric Davidge, president of Alaska Water Exports, said his company studied rivers from Los Angeles to Oregon, before determining that the Albion and Gualala had the best combination of adequate flows, clean water and distance from a wildlife refuge or sensitive natural site.


"Of all the rivers we surveyed, those were the only two we thought we could work in without affecting the environment," said Davidge, a Californian who worked as a deputy assistant secretary of interior in the Reagan administration.


Part of an international consortium called World Water SA, Alaska Water Exports wants to draw water from the mouths of Gualala and Albion during winter months, when their flows are the heaviest. Altogether, the firm is seeking permission to draw up to 10,000 acre-feet of water from the Albion and twice that from the Gualala each year, although Davidge said annual withdrawals from both rivers would never exceed 20,000 acre-feet.


The water would be pumped through a pipeline into massive polyfiber bags, which would be hauled by tugboats down to San Diego. There, the annual withdrawals would be enough to serve about 40,000 households.


Davidge said his associates have successfully marketed water from Turkey to Cyprus the last four years, using the tug-boat-and-bag technology. Water tugging, he said, will grow increasingly economical as Southern California grows and its water supplies dwindle because of environmental regulations and reduced exports from the Colorado River.


"We would not have expended the funds and the effort if we didn't think this would work," said Davidge. "California is the fifth-largest economy in the world, and corporations are already moving away because of water."


In San Diego, water officials said they have talked with Davidge and are intrigued.


"We are always on the lookout for any kind of alternate water supply," said Kurt Kidman, a spokesman for the San Diego Water Department. "Last year in San Diego, it hardly rained at all. We didn't use any local water, so you can imagine how dependent on water we are."


At the same time, entrepreneurs for years have deluged Southern California with water-import proposals -- using oil tankers, pipeline, even icebergs tugged down from Alaska.


"Anything you can imagine comes through our office," said Kidman. "So our attitude is: We don't discourage, we don't encourage. We say, 'Go get your permits, do your studies, and come back with a solid proposal.' "


For his project to pencil out, Davidge would need to sell his water for more than the cost of shipping it.


San Diego currently pays $444 an acre-foot for water, meaning that Davidge must extract and ship his 20,000 acre-feet for less than $8.8 million, or command a higher price from San Diego.


A bigger hurdle, however, is obtaining the right to market public water from the two rivers. The state water control board plans to issue a public notice about the project sometime next month, after which interested parties will have 60 days to comment or file protests, said Stockdale. Then the board's staff will have 60 days to review any protests.


Likely issues will involve effects on beaches, scenery, tourism and Coho salmon, a threatened species on the North Coast.


According to its permit application, the company's proposed 24-inch pipeline "will be buried within the active river channel to eliminate visual and physical impacts to habitat and local river recreational use."


Davidge said the pipeline intake will be screened to minimize any impact on fisheries. In turn, the bags dragged by the tugs will float below the ocean surface.


"You won't even notice it from the beach," he said.


Perkins, however, said Alaska Water Exports is likely to get a chilly reception in her town. She recently sent an e-mail about the project to a river stakeholder group of environmentalists and loggers.


"To a person, they were outraged," said Perkins. "It is definitely something that is going to unite a broad spectrum of people."


From the Press Democrat……………………Media



        Editorial published on January 30, 2002  © 2002 - The Press Democrat


        Imagine: Giant yellow bladder bags filled with North Coast water,

floating down the Pacific Coast to San Diego.

        No, this isn't a new installation by the artist Christo.

        It's the proposal of an Alaska-based company that wants to pump

part of the winter run-off from the Albion and Gualala rivers into offshore

bags capable of holding 35,000 tons of water. Tug boats would then tow the

bags to San Diego where the water would be used to quench the thirsts of


        The proposal raises many practical questions, including: Will it work?

What will happen during storms? Will the pipes be visible from the shore?

        And then there's a whole slew of environmental concerns that must

be addressed: What impact will the project have on winter steelhead runs?

How would it affect the marine life in the surrounding areas? What happens

in drought years?

        But of broader concern is the symbolism of this proposal. Even if

the project is environmentally sound, it still represents a water grab by

unquenchable Southern California.

        It isn't the first time an attempt has been made to send north

Coast water south. Round Valley would be a reservoir now if it wasn't for

the efforts of Mendocino County ranchers.

        And, even if this latest idea is shot down by the state Water

Rights Division, more will come.

        As California's population expands by 5 million people every

decade, water districts will become more aggressive in their efforts to

secure resources from northern streams and rivers. It's likely that

somewhere in the bowels of the Department of Water Resources, reports

already exist outlining how Russian and Eel river water can be shipped


        This newest proposal should be a wake-up call to Mendocino and

Sonoma counties. It's past time for each county to prepare a comprehensive

analysis of the amount of water available (including ground water); the

amount that is being used by residential, commercial and agricultural

users; and predicted future needs.

        The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors took an important first step

by agreeing on Tuesday to include a separate water resource element in the

updated county planning document.

        The next step will be for the counties to identify where future

water will come from and how it will be stored. This is sure to create

political battles among local citizens. But avoiding these decisions

creates a vacuum -- one that Southern California water districts would love

to fill with their own pipes, pumps and dams.



From the Press Democrat …………………………………Media




Published on January 29, 2002  © 2002- The Press Democrat


          An Alaska company has asked the state of California for permission to capture winter water from the Gualala and Albion rivers and transport it by sea to arid San Diego.

        The company, Alaska Water Exports, wants to remove 20,000 acre-feet

of water a year from the Gualala River and 10,000 acre-feet a year from the

Albion River. That's enough to supply 30,000 families of four for a year.

        It's believed to be the first such proposal in California, said Merlys Stockdale, public affairs director of the Division of Water Rights in the state Department of Water Resources.

        ``It seems to be a creative proposal,'' Stockdale said.

        The water would be pumped from the rivers' mouths through a 24-inch pipeline into a giant 35,000-ton capacity water bag. Tugboats would tow the water bags to their destination.

        None of the pumping apparatus would be visible from shore, said company president Ric Davidge in a phone interview Monday from Anchorage.   ``We feel we can do this in a manner that's environmentally responsible,'' Davidge said.

        The company successfully used a similar system in the mid-east, at the request of the Turkish government, so that water could be shipped from Turkey to Cypress, Davidge said.

        The project would create some local jobs maintaining the pipeline system and on the tugboats, he said.``We want to get started as soon as we can secure the permits from the state and other agencies,'' Davidge said.

        The state Water Rights Division, which has the power to grant rights to unallocated water such as the rivers' winter flows, will be issuing a notice of the application next month, with an invitation for public comment. An environmental review will be required.

        Should a permit be granted, the state would charge Alaska Water Exports a water-use fee, which is still to be determined, Stockdale said.

        The company hopes to sell the water to San Diego for about $550 an acre-foot, Davidge said. But there is no deal or contract in place.

        Some members of the Gualala River Watershed Council, which is seeking to restore and rehabilitate the Gualala River and its adjoining land, are skeptical about the plan.

        ``I just think it's a bad idea,'' said Doug Simmonds, speaking for himself, and not the council. ``We've just learned about it and we're trying to figure out what to do.''

        Supervisor Mike Reilly, whose district includes the Gualala River, said he will be bringing the issue to the attention of the state Coastal Commission, which may have some jurisdiction over the proposal.

        ``I think we need to take this seriously, even though the tendency is to just laugh,'' Reilly said. ``There is some fascinating case law about unallocated water'' that might allow the company to proceed, he said.

        A San Diego city spokesman confirmed that the city was looking at Alaska Water Exports' proposal, along with dozens of others.

        San Diego is extremely dependent on outside water, and is always looking for new sources, said Kurt Kidman, a spokesman for the San Diego Water Department.

        ``If someone pulled in today with a load of water, we don't even have the infrastructure to handle it. It's not imminent, that's for sure,'' Kidman said.

        Davidge said the company has to have the Gualala and Albion River permits if San Diego is to take them seriously. If San Diego didn't want the water, there are other places to sell it, Davidge said.

        ``If San Diego says it's not going to do this, we have other markets in Southern California and Mexico,'' he said.

        Alaska Water Exports is one of four partners in an international consortium, World Water SA. The other partners are companies in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Norway.

        Davidge is president of both Alaska Water and World Water.


You can reach author Carol Benfell at 521-5259 or cbenfell@pressdemocrat.com.


From the Mendocino Beacon………………..……..Media


Alaskan company wants to Albion,

                     Gualala Rivers’ water to San Diego

                     By Beacon Staff           Published  January 31, 2002

                                                                                                                               The California State Water Resources Board has received two applications from the Alaskan Water Exports Co. to draw water from the Albion and Gualala rivers and send it to parched San Diego areas.

The applications are now under review, with a public comment time soon to be noticed.

In a Jan. 18 article in The Independent Coast Observer, Julie Verran reported that Ric Davidge of Arctic Water Exports said San Diego needs 20,000 acre-feet of water by 2004. He said a team of scientists checked all water outflows in the western U.S. and found only two, the Gualala and Albion that could reasonably withstand a take of water that would not interfere with the ecosystem.

Verran said about 20 years ago when a pipeline was proposed to carry Alaska water to southern California, Davidge was then Alaska state water chief and he turned thumbs down on the project.

The proposal would use enormous floating plastic waterbags instead of a pipeline. They would be filled when the rivers could handle the withdrawal, mainly between October and May, then towed to

Southern California.

Carol Benfell of the Press Democrat wrote on Jan. 29 that the state Water Rights Division has the power to grant rights to unallocated water such as the rivers' winter flows. An environmental review will be required.

She said, should the permits be granted, the state would charge Alaska Water Exports a water-use fee, still to be determined.

Alaska Water is one of four partners in an international consortium, World Water SA. The other partners are companies in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Norway. Benfell said Davidge is the president of both Alaska Water and World Water.

                                                                                                                                 From Sacramento Bee 2/18/02…………….…..…….Media



From L.A. Times 3/02/02……………………………Media


Plan to Bag Rivers May Not Float

An entrepreneur's bid to tug giant sacks of fresh North Coast water to San Diego stirs up anger amid the skepticism.




ALBION, Calif. -- It boasts an audacious history, this business of water in the West. From dams the size of mountains to aqueducts across the desert, the landscape has been re-plumbed in ways Mother Nature never pondered. Water percolates through some of the best fiction and most of the best fights.


Even dreamy schemes to capture icebergs or run transcontinental pipelines bubble up from time to time, which is why folks here on the scenic North Coast are keeping a close eye on a plan they brand a classic Southern California water grab--"Chinatown" in a giant Baggie.


The man with the bag is Ric Davidge. A water entrepreneur from Alaska, Davidge is an industrious fellow whose Reagan administration resume seems to eco-warriors clear proof of villainy.


His company wants to suck fresh water from two North Coast rivers, stow it in massive poly-fiber bags the length of a World War II battleship, and tow the floating sacks hundreds of miles south--dodging oil tankers and migrating whales--to slake San Diego's thirst.


But first, Davidge will have to convert regulators, politicians and often-feisty residents--in this case, the denizens of Mendocino County, where locals consider coastal protection a birthright.


Rachel Binah, a coastal innkeeper and ardent environmentalist, said the idea initially seemed "harebrained, goofy, ridiculous, ludicrous, absurd."


But with Davidge plowing forward with a formal proposal to a state water agency, the snickers are subsiding and concern is growing, Binah says. "It could potentially be very, very dangerous."


Davidge wants to use his oceangoing bags to tote 20,000 acre-feet of water each year from the Albion and Gualala (pronounced wa-LA-la) rivers--enough for 40,000 households.


He brings to the brawl some well-heeled backers, among them a large Japanese shipping line and a Saudi Arabian company that boasts a variety of multibillion-dollar international ventures, including the largest independent Toyota distributorship on the globe. As a deputy to former Interior Secretary James Watt, a man environmentalists loved to hate, Davidge knows how to work a room full of angry people.


His scheme has whipped up distrust reminiscent of past north-south water wars. Mendocino County supervisors are on record opposing the project. The California Coastal Commission has begun to grumble. Sen. Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) is lobbying state water officials in opposition.


The most vocal opponents are the region's axis of latter-day hippies, environmentally minded urban refugees and nature-loving merchants of tourism.


They are a battle-tested bunch. In the 1960s, North Coast activists beat back a nuclear power plant. They defeated offshore oil in the 1980s and fought to save the redwoods in the 1990s.


On the banks of the Albion, a vortex of the back-to-the-land movement, they've coined a whimsical sovereign status: The "Albion Nation," they call themselves.


And they're itching for a tussle.


"We've had a lot of practice," mused Bill Heil, who came to Albion three decades ago to join a commune and has been here ever since. "I don't think the project will fly, but we'll have a good time fighting it."


Big bags are not a new notion in the West Coast water wars. Manhattan Beach inventor Terry Spragg has been trying without success for a decade to pitch his "Spragg Bags" for runs along the coast.


But the bag technology floated by Davidge's Anchorage-based Alaska Water Exports is already at work in the real world, on a run between Turkey and Cyprus operated by Nordic Water Supply, a partner in the Mendocino proposal.


So far, that operation has been a money loser. Nature has caused unexpected complications. In December 2000, Nordic lost a bag in stormy seas off Cyprus before recovering it unscathed. Another bag had torn open and spilled during an earlier trip.


Davidge says tougher fabrics and seamless technology used in the bags, which are stitched by mammoth looms, will prevent such mishaps. Coastal regulators remain skeptical.


"There's the potential for these bags breaking loose, entangling in habitat. How do you get them out?" wondered Peter Douglas, executive director of the Coastal Commission. "There's just a whole range of issues raised by this proposal that are very serious."


Approval of 2 Panels Required


The plan requires approval of the Coastal Commission as well as the State Water Resources Control Board. As long a shot as the scheme seems, Chesbro recently wrote the board's chairman that it threatens to reignite the state's epic water wars and set "a troubling precedent" for rivers on the coast.


Out here, amid the sweeping surf and stately redwoods, every bend in the road offers another breathtaking view, another chance to embrace one of nature's masterpieces. With grassy bluffs and foam-washed coves, the Mendocino coast has a ready-made constituency of stewards and protectors.


"They've come to the wrong place," grumbled Bernie Macdonald, Mendocino's Green Party secretary and a veteran of environmental fights. "We're prepared to go as far as we have to go."


Some inveterate activists are already talking up "monkey wrenching," puncturing water bags as a form of pro-environment sabotage.


Linda Perkins, Albion's Sierra Club liaison, hears people around Albion's tiny center--a grocery store, a post office--pose the telling question, "with a wink, wink" at the end. "Everyone asks: 'So, how thick are those bags anyway?' It may be bravado, but people are thinking about it."


Davidge, 54, who grew up in Mission Hills, seems unfazed. He weathered political battles alongside Watt, whose federal tenure remains a bitter memory for western environmentalists. A self-styled environmentalist, the bearded Davidge says he was considered "the greenie" in Reagan's Interior Department. He later was Alaska's top water official before setting out as a water entrepreneur.


He also has served as an aide to U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). In the private sector, Davidge has worked on projects ranging from port development to the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez spill. He is also a man of culture, operating an Anchorage professional theater company that produces the work of Alaskan playwrights.


Davidge makes a practice of writing endlessly about water issues. One paper, about the potential for exporting water from Alaska, prompted investors to recruit him to run World Water, the Luxembourg-registered firm that is pushing the bag proposal. Davidge's partners in World Water are the Japanese shipping firm NYK Line; Mizutech, an investment subsidiary of the Saudi-based AJL Group; and Nordic Water Supply, a Norwegian venture company.


The group is working to cobble together deals in other water-starved locales, from the Middle East to North Africa.


"You're talking about a guy who has been doggedly, tenaciously pursuing the bulk water business for years," said Gil Serrano, who himself gave up on it to start a bottled water firm, Alaska Glacier Refreshments. "Ric won't give up easy. You'll have to use a silver bullet to kill him."


Davidge considers San Diego the key to winning acceptance of the big bags.


For several years, the arid border metropolis has been requesting proposals for new ways to ease its heavy reliance on imported water for its 1.25 million residents.


While eyeing Davidge's proposal, "we're strictly on the sidelines right now," said Kurt Kidman, a San Diego Water Department spokesman. Davidge and company will not only have to beat the $444 per acre-foot that San Diego now pays, but also do it without ruffling feathers in Mendocino or elsewhere, Kidman said. "We're not out to steal anyone's water."


Value of Idea Escapes Many


Other water officials won't give Davidge the time of day. At the Metropolitan Water District, the giant umbrella agency that provides Southern California's water, Davidge's proposal prompts groans. Tim Quinn, the district's vice president for state water projects, said "silly ideas like this" only serve to inflame "north-south passions needlessly."


Davidge rues being pulled into old fights. But he suggests that the Southern California economy could falter without new water sources. In the world according to Davidge, North Coast residents need to embrace their symbiotic ties with the Southland.


After surveying 15 coastal tributaries, Davidge said his team narrowed its search to the Albion and Gualala because their water is unpolluted and neither hosts an ecological reserve.


Davidge wants to bury a 24-inch pipeline from an offshore buoy up the spine of each river, hundreds of yards inland to where tidal saltwater isn't a factor. Water would be pumped to the offshore station and into the oceangoing bags. A tugboat would slowly make the trip down the coast with the hulking cargo, more than 850 feet long and 100 feet wide, with a draft of about 24 feet.


With sunny promotional zeal, Davidge has answers for most every perceived pitfall.


Worried about construction messing up the rivers?


It would be performed during low water months without harming the environment, he says.


Frosty over robbed water messing up river hydrology?


Davidge vows to take water only during the huge flows of winter months, when, he says, there is plenty to spare.


Irked over the prospect of views made icky by bags lolling like whales belly-up?


The giant sacks ride out of view, beneath the waves, the promoter insists.


Peppered with hundreds of negative e-mails, Davidge says he answers them all. Naysayers, he insists, will be swayed once they learn about the project's technological promise. He even plans a public meeting on the North Coast in the coming weeks.


Expect the Albion Nation to turn out in force.


Perkins of the Sierra Club says the water project would harm the endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout of the coastal rivers, and trample the eelgrass beds that harbor the juvenile smolts.


"We see this as the foot in the door," said Perkins, who believes her "little Podunk river" was selected because communities of the Mendocino coast are small and lack clout.


Down the coast in Gualala, population 585, the sentiments are just as sharp. Around a big table at a local coffeehouse, foes gathered one recent morning over steaming mugs to share fears.


Business People Raise Concerns


The Gualala was once the fishing playground of Jack London, actor Fred MacMurray and former California Gov. and U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren. Craig Bell, a fishing guide, knows every deep-water spot: Switchfail, Snag, Miner's Hole. A water pipe, he said, would wreak havoc.


Karen Scott, manager of a real estate office, worries that tourists will be turned off by views of tugboats and jumbo-sized bags. "He's saying his project will bring jobs," Scott said. "But how many will we lose?"


Davidge may contend that the sacks absorb the energy of waves while parked offshore, but "that bag isn't just going to sit there when 20-foot swells start hitting," insists Jim Koogle, a carpenter. "It'll be on the beach."


Others grumble that Davidge is fueling Southern California's "unsustainable addiction" to imported water. They talk of their rivers becoming a poker chip in international trade. They fret that the sacks might impede gray whales rollicking in the river mouth.


Wayne Harris, who runs a kayak rental business, considers this fight part of the California continuum, the state's tangled saga on water. "Bigger areas than ours," he grumbled, "have been wiped out."


With the battle joined, listen to the wisdom of Alan Graham, known in Albion by his nom-de-guerre, Captain Fathom.


"This whole thing is a preposterous joke," Graham said. "They want to get us laughing so hard we'll be too out of breath to fight when they try something serious." 


Times staff writer Tony Perry contributed to this report from San Diego.


An Associated Press article submitted to ENN.com.....

about our little village and the Alaska company that wants to suck water

out of the river to transport to thirsty San Diego, and how we ain't

gonna let 'em.          (from Rita Crane)






Local Comments & Poetry:…………………………………top


I noticed this from the article from the Sacramento Bee -


>"Of all the rivers we surveyed, those were the only two we thought we could

>work in without affecting the environment," said Davidge, a Californian who

>worked as a deputy assistant secretary of interior in the Reagan administration.


So, Mr. Davidge once answered to the infamous James Watt.


I don't mean this as a threat, but something tells me that Alaska Water

Exports will be sorry it ever heard of the Albion River...


Local Poetry


"Watter we Albionites going to do

If the Watter wants watter out of our slough

And blats about bladders until we all turn blue?

We're gonna form circles, then- peaceful and true-

Chanting our mantra to bud and to dew,

And singing our songs of a Wobbly hue,

We're gonna give Davidge a large dose of rue."


And local Haiku by Ruth Weiss


Albion and Gualala Rivers


Untouched by lucre

These rivers will keep clear from

All shenanigans.



Reference……………………………………..……………… top


Organized list of links to websites and press articles relating to thetopics of waterbags and water exports. (revised 3/2/02)


By the numbers – Statistics for Watersheds & Barging


Here's an extensive list of links (regional, national

and international) related to water policy issues,

developed by the Mono Lake Committee:


Albion River final TMDL


Some Ric Davidge History


From: Jay Kelley

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 16:28:31 -0800


For those of you interested in the Gualala and Albion Rivers, waterbags or

NOT, if you check out the web page below, you'll see that some folks in

Alaska (the tribal government of the Village Tuluksakhave) already contested

some of the work of Ric Davidge through legal action with the Supreme Court

of the state of Alaska. One of their issues also involved permits for the

appropriation of water.




And more PR from Ric in the article in the Rochester News, Feb. 8. 2000.

Maybe BoD Roy knows this Henry Vaux, professor of resource economics at the

University of California at Berkeley who is also quoted in the article?




Seems that Ric also authored the following, not sure if it's available on web.


Davidge, Ric

Archeology: A Statement from the Department of the Interior 9 (1982) 389--392


And, from another article, the following excerpt:


Early in his activist career, Cushman became well-enough connected in right-wing

circles that in 1980 his lobbyist, Ric Davidge, was asked by conservative

Republicans to craft a hard-line position on property rights.

Davidge did so (with Cushman advising), and the product was folded into the

1980 Republican Party Platform.


In 1981 Ronald Reagan became president, and that same year he appointed

Cushman to a Park Service advisory board under then-Secretary of the

Interior James Watt. Watt also hired Davidge to work with him at the

Interior Department.


Watt was the national figurehead for the Sagebrush Rebellion, an attempt by

a handful of powerful Western ranchers and other businessmen to buy vast

tracts of valuable public lands at bargain basement prices.


Robin Winks, a Yale University professor who served as chair of the Park

Service advisory board from 1982-84, said of Cushman, "he starts with a

grain of truth, then the sky is falling on you head..he's mischievous,

dangerous and often out of line.".


The complete article can be found at:




And when Ric and others proposed legislation that would impact the citizens access, future availability and use of water, the citizens said that the proposed legislation would:

"unduly burden future private water users who should continue to be afforded the protection of natural rights to clean water and air.  .  ."

read the full Resolution at:




And Alaska State Representative John Cowdery said in a March 2000 letter in the Anchorage Daily News:


"The report in question was authored by Mr. Ric Davidge without participation

from anyone else on his four member subcommittee or the larger 25 member committee. My staff gave him a written critique. We told him, "your attempt to use this report as a forum to further Commissioner Sedwick's complaints about International Trade and Tourism is way off base."

After preventing political harangues against the Governor, my staff wasn't

about to let Mr. Davidge harangue me. He changed three or four sentences and

resubmitted the report which was then considered in full by the full subcommittee.

To claim that the report was tossed is out is a gross distortion."


And finally, the University of San Diego Legal Research Center provides this

website on California Water Law.




Have fun reading and learning, if nothing else, I think it provides an interesting

vision of Ric Davidge.  From Barb Kelley



One of the really interesting articles at WaterBank is Ric Davidge's

1994 paper on water exports:

"A discussion paper of key issues involved in moving bulk quantities of water from Alaska to the southwestern states, Mexico, and Pacific Rim Nations using marine transport."



State Water Rights & Water issue postings – From Kathy Wylie



Desalination and Water issues in general- from novenka:



Foreign Species Issues - From Alberta Cottrell


Native species should not be transported to other seas or very negative impacts are possible. Who knows what native species exist in our Albion water may take over Southern California.


The Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus), native to the coasts of

southern Russia, Japan, Korea and China south to Hong Kong, has taken over

tide pools along the Atlantic coast. Like some other alien species that find

their way to the United States, this bioinvader probably arrived in the

ballast water of a ship dealing in global trade. In 1988, a biology student

identified an Asian shore crab on Cape May, New Jersey. Since then the

crustaceans have been scuttling north and south along the eastern seaboard.




Other examples of Invasive Species and costs



USGS on invasive species



SF Bay Area & Zebra mussels


Great Poster on California may be next


USDA & Invasive Species - costs US 138 billion a year per Cornell University


USDA has authority over Interstate transport which is not our issue, but may be useful



This is now a United Nations issue



There is a major problem of invasive species occurring because of ships carrying water ballasts. Lots of info:


Cute posters about invasive species post them in Southern California and they will not want our water



More  Links to .gov sites


California Department of Fish & Game site


NMFS Southwest Region Front Page


and specifally Fish:


Pacific Salmon and the Endangered Species Act


TMDLs – USEPA Region 9 site and TMDL info



USEPA Watershed Info & Action Info

Gualala: http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=18010109

Albion:   http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=18010108

Activities & Info: http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/earthday/earthday.html

EPA Water Central:  http://www.epa.gov/ow/

Watershed Initiatives: http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiativefs.html


Legal References:

For groups working on the environmental side of the protest. - all of the US Codes that pertain to conservation. A useful site.  From Janet



Canadian Perspectives – “Blue Planet”

These people are obviously concerned with the same problem. They have

some publications on their site of interest to us, I think. It is current, also.

Take a look:



They seem to be translated into several languages and are sometimes only as PDF files.


Maude Barlow, the author of the first Blue Planet article I mentioned, is Chairperson of The Council of Canadians and a director with the International Forum on Globalization. She is the best-selling author or co-author of 11 books on the effect of economic globalization on the environment and social security as well as the recent IFG publication, Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply. She has said:



Barlow maintains that if Newfoundland is allowed to export bulk water,

it becomes, ipso facto, a "good" under NAFTA, which would allow any

other company in Canada to do the same.

She can be reached, I believe, at Email: mbarlow@canadians.org

To see more about her, look at any of these sites returned by Google.

She's called water right's Joan of Arc for Canada...   Janet




Official Responses…………………………………………….top



Resolution of the Mendocino Board of Supervisors ………………..……..




WHEREAS, the declineof salmon and steelhead populations along the  Pacific Coast  region 

from California to Alaska over the last decade has led to the  listing of salmonid populations as “threatened” or “endangered,” by National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Game, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act; and


WHEREAS, numerous watersheds that are tributaries to the Pacific Ocean are Significantly  impacted  by these listings, including the Gualala and Albion rivers; and


WHEREAS, coastal Mendocino County currently experiences chronic water shortages; and both the  Albion and Gualala watersheds are contained in the “Critical Water Resources” groundwater designation in the “Mendocino County Coastal Ground Water Study  (California Department of Water Resources, June 1982); and


WHEREAS,  winter flows from the  coastal rivers  are  essential for  proper ecological

Functioning of the  estuaries  and  near shore  ocean  conditions,  resulting  in  improved fishery Conditions, and providing attraction flows for adult fish, and


WHEREAS,  coastal  Mendocino has suffered economically from greatly reduced fish stocks and resulting fishing opportunities; and


WHEREAS, coastal Mendocino is heavily dependent upon tourism and a non-

Industrialized coastline; and


WHEREAS, 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 needs;


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of

Supervisors hereby states its strong opposition to the proposal to export water to southern

California from the Gualala and Albion Rivers.



The foregoing Resolution introduced by Supervisor Colfax, seconded by

Supervisor Campbell, and carried this 13th day of February, 2002, by the entire board

with Supervisor Delbar absent (4 AYES, 0 NOES, 1 ABSENT)                                     


Resolution of the Sonoma Board of Supervisors……………………




WHEREAS, the Division of Water Rights of the California Department of Water

Resources has received applications 31194 and 31195 from Alaska Water Exports to appropriate water from the Gualala and Albion Rivers for export to Southern California; and


WHEREAS, the Gualala River is within the jurisdiction of the County of Sonoma; and


WHEREAS, the decline of salmonid populations along the California Central and North Coast regions has led to threatened listings under the Endangered Species Act; and


WHEREAS, chronic water shortages exist in the community of Gualala as determined by the California Department of Water Resources and the California Coastal Commission; and


WHEREAS, winter flows from the coastal rivers are essential for proper ecological functioning of estuaries and near shore ocean conditions, resulting in improved conditions including attraction flows for listed fish species; and


WHEREAS, coastal Sonoma County is reliant on tourism and maintaining a scenic, non-industrialized coastline; and


WHEREAS, the applications from Alaska Water Exports do not address the myriad of environmental and economic impacts this project would have on the County of Sonoma;


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IS RESOLOVED that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors opposes the application to export water from the Gualala River to Southern California; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors calls on all relevant regulatory agencies to insure that any such proposal for water export undergo the most rigorous of environmental studies including, but not limited to:


Impacts of lowering large quantities of fresh water flow in a manner that may effect the ability of salmonids to determine the time to enter the river system for spawning.

Impacts of extraction on salt water intrusion up the river both on river ecology and domestic wells.

Impacts on streambed alteration of placing pipelines, cisterns and intake points for water extraction significantly upstream from the river mouth including construction impacts.

Impacts on estuary and near shore ocean ecology.

Impacts on highly scenic coastal resources and related economic impacts on tourism.

Impacts of construction and intakes on public access and use of the river.

Impacts of offshore water bags on fishing boats and recreational craft.

Impacts of pipeline construction on net and line snagging for fishing boats.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be submitted to relevant regulatory agencies, including the State Department of Water Resources, the California Department of Fish and Game, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Coastal Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the coastal permitting agencies in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.





Navarro Watershed Protection Assn * P. O. Box 1936 * Mendocino, CA. 95460


Contact:   Dr. Hillary Adams, Chairperson


Fact Sheet

Water Application Protests for Alaska Water Exports and World Water SA

Application Nos. 31194 (Gualala) and 31195 (Albion)


(This is a working draft of the Fact Sheet.  For a final copy, mail name

and address  and request to: NWPA, P.O. Box 1936, Mendocino, CA. 95460).




1) Write to your legislators on the state and local level, objecting to

these projects and asking for legislation against bulk transfers of water

out of north cost rivers.  (Names and addresses in your local papers).

Senator Wesley Chesbro and Assemblywoman Pat Wiggins from Napa have already written letters to State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights (SWRCB-DWR) objecting to the projects.  Supervisor Colfax has taken the lead locally, introducing a resolution in opposition to the projects at

the Board of Supervisors.  The resolution passed unanimously.





State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB-DWR)

P. O. Box 2000

Sacramento, CA. 95812-2000


2)  Register an official protest on both projects to SWRCB-DWR.


There are eight major steps in the permit process: 1)  Public Notice, 2)

Public Protests;  3) Response to Protests by Applicant;   5) Field

Investigation (protestants, applicant and staff of SWRCB;  this step should

include Determination of Water Availability. The staff has 180 days to try

to resolve the issues and dismiss the protests in a "good faith effort");

6) Preparation of Environmental Document to meet California Environmental

Quality Act (CEQA);  7) Response of Protestants to Environmental Document;

8)  Hearing before the SWRCB (in Sacramento).

 Final Step:

 If the permits are approved at the hearing, protestants need to request a

"reconsideration" by the SWRCB





        1) NOTICE:  send a letter requesting notification for applications

in Mendocino and/or Sonoma County, especially 31194 (Gualala) and 31195

(Albion)  At the same time, request 6 protest forms and a copy of the most

recent  Statutory Water Rights Laws (this also contains the Public Resource

codes and relevant Fish and Game laws:


      Address: SWRCB/DWR

                    P. O. Box 2000

                    Sacramento CA 95812-2000


Only US mail is considered official: calls and e-mails indicate public

interest but could be ignored .


        2) PROTEST:  When you receive notification of the projects, look at

the end of application. The Date of Notice, the time the public has for

response, and the name of the engineer in charge of the project appears at

the end of the application form.


You can print out your own copy of the protest (to petitions) form

for the SWRCB from their web site at:



The following discusses the water right process



General information regarding water rights in California



 From Janet Hubbard


        We anticipate 60 calendar days (including weekends and holidays)

for the Albion and Gualala applications (the usual time is 40 calendar

days).  The Protest must be postmarked within the  time specified.  It is

best to mail a week early.   Send  original by certified mail, return

receipt, to SWRCB-DWR, P. O. Box 2000, Sacramento, CA. 95812-2000, Attn. of the engineer (Gafney).  Send one copy to the applicant, and keep one copy

for  your own files.  If your protest is accepted the SWRCB will notify

you. Keep the Notification of Acceptance in your file along with the

Protest.  The applicant has two weeks to respond to your protest.  Keep his

response in your file also.  You should write back to SWRCB, copy

applicant, saying you are retaining your protest.


        The Yellow protest form may be copied.  It can be made out by hand

as long as the writing is legible.  You do not have to use the yellow form,

but you must provide all of the information as stated on the form and in

that order.  You may attach additional sheets with your written comments.


        The information needed for most of the protest will be found in the

application notice, including the name of applicant, application number and

point of withdrawal. Laws are found in the booklet entitled:  Statutory

Water Rights Law Cite these under "Other Issues"  You may attach extra

sheets and include written comments.




1) One side of the form is for persons with water rights which might be affected,

especially by downstream users.

2) One side is for public interest, environmental, public trust and "other"

reasons for protest, including "contrary to law."


Most protestants will use the "environmental side."   Some will use both sides.

                                                                                                                               Under Environmental, you may attach written comments of your concerns about the environment.  In this case, saltwater intrusion and level of estuary water are both important for the survival of fish and wildlife, as well as for our own survival. Cite San Mateo County, salt water intrusion into wells.  In San Francisco Bay (which is actually a very large estuary) salt water intrusion from withdrawal of fresh water is now reaching into the Sacramento Delta.  Any wells or water rights on the Albion or Gualala, along the entire length of the estuary and possibly further upriver, could be affected by salt water intrusion.


         Lowering of fresh water flow into the ocean in such vast amounts

could affect the ability of salmonids to determine the time to enter the

system for spawning.  Salt water intrusion could move much further upriver

than the lower estuary.  Tidal influence reaches 4-5 miles in most of our

North Coast Rivers.  If there is less freshwater flowing into the ocean, the

reverse tide will push a higher saltwater mix back into the system.


        The proposed cisterns below each river estuary act as underground

reservoirs, capturing large amounts of fresh water.  This is not at the

point that the water enters the ocean, as the applicant claims.  It is

about one mile up into the estuaries, in both cases near the south bank.

The applications should tell us the size and depth of the cisterns.   A

shallow cistern will pull down the depth of the estuary water. Shallower

water heats more rapidly and can become lethal for salmonids.  As fresh

water is pumped out of the underflow, salt water will intrude.


        Both Coho and Steelhead salmon are listed under the Endangered

Species Act as "Threatened" in this area.  The survival of these species is

in the public interest due to their value for recreational sports fishing,

an important economy for the North Coast.  They are our best argument for

protecting the beneficial use of water for fish and game.


        However, on the Gualala, and perhaps on the Albion, there are also

prior water rights (e.g. Sea Ranch ).  These have a higher beneficial use

under the water code than the protection of Fish and Game and should be



        The applicant claims "gravity flow" through the 2 foot-diameter,

concrete pipe reaching from the cistern to the bag in the ocean.  However,

there is a pump at the end of the system, on the vast water bag.  That

means the water is being sucked out of the cistern through the pipe and

into the bag. What means of monitoring does the applicant propose?  The

usual pumping records required of agriculture will not work, since the

pumps on the water bladders are not hooked to an on-shore electrical

system.  How can the public know when the applicant is taking water and how

much? An enormous amount of fresh water would be leaving the system.  For

example:  20,000 acre feet  is equivalent to one foot of water spread over

20,000 acres of land.   One acre-foot is equivalent to approximately

327,000 gallons of water.  Multiply that by 20,000!  The largest reservoirs

on the Navarro system hold 100-200 acre-feet.


        The SWRCB does not consider the difference between drought and rain

years, (they use an average).  Salmonids use the estuaries year round.  In

drought years, they return to the estuaries for deeper, cooler waters.  The

salt/fresh water ratio and the depth of water in the estuaries is essential

for salmonid survival.


        The SWRCB method of proving water availability in relation to fish

and wildlife, a form of the Tennant Method, is considered faulty by their

peer review team, and has not been field tested.  Their peer review should

be cited:  Moyle and Kondolf, "Fish By-pass Flows in Northern Coastal

Streams," June 12, 2000.


         The National Marine Fisheries Service methodology of Median

February Flow is also faulty for our rivers, where the heaviest rainfall

usually occurs in December and January.


        Even though the applicant claims he is  not affecting flow and most

of the Fish and Game laws refer to flow, he should have to prove that he is

not affecting flow or the change in salt/freshwater ratio in the estuary.



Under Number 2, "Other Issues"  the most important laws to cite are:


Calif. Code of Regulations, Title 23 (water a Public Trust) and Fish and Game           

Code, Div. 2,Chap. 1, Art. 1 # 711.7 (Fish and Game a Public Trust);


Water Code:  Part 2, Chap, 1, Article 4,#1243 ( Beneficial Use) : Public

interest; recreation, fish and wildlife a beneficial use of California  waters;


Water Code: Chap. 2, Article 1, #1257.5 (streamflow requirements for fish

and  wildlife);


Water Code: Division 1, 108 (needs of local area) and 386 (transfer of

water) may also be applicable.


Public Resources Code: Division 10, 1000-10005 (streamflow protection

standards for fish and wildlife);


Fish and Game Code: Division 2, Chap. 6, #1601-1603 (Fish and Wildlife

Protection and Conservation);


Endangered Species act, especially Coho and steelhead salmon;


Public Resources Code Division 13, beginning Sec.21000 et. seq. (California

Environmental Quality Act (CEQA):  especially 21083 subd.(b) and

Guidelines Sec.15355, subd. (a);  15065,subd. ( c);  15130 subd. (a).


It should also be noted that under the Water Code, Part 2.10 (Water Supply

Planning) # 10915, San Diego is required to have a regional growth

management strategy. This includes a water element.


Under Division 7, Chapter 7, (Water Quality), Article 7 (Water Reuse)  the

legislature found that use of potable domestic water for nonpotable uses,

including golf courses, highway landscaping,  and industrial and irrigation

uses is a "waste or an unreasonable Use within the meaning of Section 2,

Article X of the California Constitution."    Has San Diego taken every

step possible to use reclaimed water?


For No. 3 on the Protest Form: "Under what conditions may this protest be

disregarded and dismissed?" write "None at this time."


In the space provided under No. 3, request a field investigation and a full

Environmental Impact Report.  Ask SWRCB to prove water availability  for

applications with field tested method in relation to protection of threatened Coho and steelhead in all life phases.


For each of the following steps in the eight step process:

require a full environmental Impact Report  require SWRCB methodology with field testing and proof of no drawdown upstream or salt/water intrusion


retain your protest!!!!!




First Application Examinations on 2/16/02 from Linda


Hi All-


Alaska Export's Applications to Extract Water From Albion and Gualala


The applications:

        We got a copy of the applications and were appalled at how poorly

they were done. Parts were handwritten and were illegible. All of it looked

as though it was made up of material gotten from the web: a USGS site was

used to write up the 'hydrology' report and the NDDB [Natural Diversity

Data Base] site to get listed species of plants and animals. Nothing was to

scale and, in the Albion, it was proposed to place the pipe along the bank

until, at some later date, it was permitted to place it in the river bed.

It was claimed no environmental impacts would occur from this activity.

The intake cistern itself, which is to be buried in the river bed 1/4 mile

above the highest salt water intrusion, was to be "gravity fed" but

contained pumps to send the water down the pipe to the offshore buoy.

Again, nothing was to scale. And the claim that the water would not leave

the river until it reached the mouth is absurd; once the water goes into

the cistern, the hydrology of the river is changed and that water has left

the natural system.

                His proposed "uses" are vague. He says the water will be used "by

water utilities along the south coast of California- contracts are under

negotiation at this time". In another spot, he mentions "San Diego, San

Francisco, and San Louis [sic] Obispo"

        One subset of information is entitled "Executive Summary, Civil

Infrastructure for Water Export Facilities, Albion, Navarro and Mattole

Rivers, Northern California, USA." [Dated 8-03-00] This document lays out

different scenarios with pro and con arguments for each. Considered are

three aspects of the project:

(1) "uplands raw water intake structures"

-either the cistern or a 'drilled well'. The well is recommended(!).

(2) "raw water treatment system including a conveyance system for

transporting the potable water to a marine offshore loading system".

 -three ideas are discussed for treatment: A portable system (modular

 pieces that could be trucked around and set up on land) or a barge

or other offshore vessel, or "treatment in transit".

(3)"marine water loading systems" - buoys and 'isolated dolphin'; the

latter is a fixed, non-movable system built on the ocean bottom;

two would be needed; the drawings show what appear to be large

hexagonal concrete posts. Again, descriptions and drawings are so

poor I can't make out much.


These may be part of his discussion of 'alternatives' as will be required

under his CEQA document.


Bottom Line Recommendation from the Hydrology report (and, since the

Navarro and Mattole are no longer part of the picture, this would be for Albion):

"The ideal facility to export potable water at these locations would be

wells, portable uplands treatment systems, and buried pipelines to offshore mooring buoys. Several intangible factors exist that could significantly affect the final form of this project. Public sentiment, permitting issues, and environmental concerns are a few."


The last few pages were entitled Gualala and Albion Rivers Biological

Reconnaissance Survey [Dated 9-05-00; Survey done August 31, 2000]


There's little information in the report. It looks as though they did an NDDB

search and got some plant and animal lists. They mention that the mouth of

the Gualala was closed at the time of their visit and that a county park is there;

mention the San Andreas Fault. No analysis of impacts to any of the species

they had listed.


About Albion's fish they say, "...the Albion River could potentially support

spawning populations of Coho salmon and steelhead." They don't even

know these fish are present?


More later?…..Linda.