Take Action Publications Press Room About Public Citizen Public Citizen Divisions Home
Our Campaigns Protect the Basics for Life: Food, Water and Democracy

JOIN US! |Take Action | Publications | About California | Contact Us

For Keyword(s)
advanced search

Email Signup

Sign up for our free activist updates.

Fight the Water Grab in Northern California!

In 2002, Ric Davidge, an Alaskan entrepreneur and a former administrator in former President Ronald Reagan’s Department of the Interior, attempted to obtain water rights on the Gualala and Albion Rivers of northern California. Davidge has now resurfaced with a recycled scheme to grab the water of the Mad River and sell it to thirsty urbanites.

Ric Davidge’s original plan called for the transfer of water rights to himself and his company, Alaskan Water Exports, to sell it to urban users in southern California. The water was to be towed from the north coast in football field sized poly-fiber bags.  The venture was backed by a rather murky consortium of international corporations, operating under the name World Water, SA. The consortium included Japanese-based NYK line, the largest shipping company in the world; Mizutech, a Middle Eastern investment group; and Nordic Water Supply, one of two companies currently involved in bulk water transports. 

The plan was eventually scuttled through the combined efforts of local community members and activists, politicians, and national environmental and consumer groups.

The same proposal is now targeted at the fresh water feeding into Humboldt Bay. Ric Davidge has changed the name of his company to Aqueous and hopes to tap into the “excess” water of the Mad River. The plan remains unchanged, and now the process for water rights acquisition has begun again.  The proposal must first be considered by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD). For the HBMWD to allocate the water to Aqueous, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) must approve the alteration of the initially granted water right. The approval process includes a number of steps, including public comment periods and the approval from other regulatory agencies, including the California Coastal Commission.

The HBMWD recently tabled the Davidge proposal for an indefinite period of time. The District is currently studying how the deal would be affected by state water right regulations and international trade agreements. No final date for a vote on the proposal has been established. The district will put out a one week public notice for District Director meetings at which the proposal would be discussed.

Your comments and letters are still needed to inform the District of your opinion on the project. Click here to take action!

    » california | water | gualala

Because Public Citizen does not accept funds from corporations, professional associations or government agencies, we can remain independent and follow the truth wherever it may lead. But that means we depend on the generosity of concerned citizens like you for the resources to fight on behalf of the public interest. If you would like to help us in our fight, click here.

Join | Contact PC | Contribute | Site Map | Careers/Internships| Privacy Statement