WAWA is trying to protect the town’s water supply, originating at nearby Beaughan Springs, which has supplied water to the city for over a century. But a local timber company, Roseburg Forest Products, claims ownership of the spring. Roseburg's plan is to cut off water to the town of Weed, while selling it to Crystal Geyser LLC, owned by a French investor and Japanese pharmaceutical company. This New York Times article looks at the corporate actors claiming water rights and the community response, and this Sierra Club article goes into competing legal claims for ownership. It's a sadly too-classic tale of water rights, water privatization and environmental review that pits the corporate "right" to profit against the community rights of 2,700 Weed citizens.
Most recently, residents have focused on expansion plans for the Crystal Geyser bottling plant, which is located just adjacent to the city, but is hooked into the city sewer system from discharging toxic waste water. Citizens lost on a 3-2 vote that an environmental impact report was needed and that Crystal Geyser failed to disclose the harmful chemicals because this would have triggered the need for this environmental review. You can read more about this latest battle here and here. And to get a sense of the community and how determined they are to protect their water, watch the trailer for the short documentary "Water Town."
California's recent severe drought convinced many in the state of the importance of securing water for human needs, and there have been protests around expanded bottling operations as well as renewed scrutiny of water rights claimed by bottlers and exporters. The Alliance is proud to support WAWA's fight for water for people, not for profit.