|Coastal Commission rejects zany idea to ship water south in
giant bags | by Mark Massara
Ric Davidge, a former Reagan Administration official, thought he had a million
dollar idea. He proposed to take extra water from the Gualala and
Albion Rivers in Mendocino County, put it in plastic bags as big as football fields,
and tow them down to thirsty San Diego for resale. By taking the water for free,
hed make millions. You can view photos of the Gualala and Albion Rivers
on www.californiacoastline.org, photos #12104 and #11717, respectively.
On December 13, the Coastal Commission rained on Davidges parade by voting
unanimously to send objection letters to the State Water Board formally opposing
the project. Following the vote, Davidge himself wrote to the Water Board to withdraw
the project. Davidge claimed that an emotional mobbing had overtaken
his erstwhile proposal.
Commissioners and staff raised numerous environmental concerns including impacts
to salmon and other wildlife species, disturbance to ocean hard bottom and kelp
beds, effects on whales and other marine mammals, altered river flows and temperatures,
impaired views and compromised recreational resources.
Now, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Davidge is negotiating to buy
20,000 acre feet of water/year from the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.
San Diego and the Monterey Peninsula have been mentioned as potential customers.
Henrietta Stern, Project Manager with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management
District, confirmed that the district was aware of the general proposal, but that
no formal consideration is being given to such a water source at this time.
Many engineering and regulatory questions would have to be answered before such
a scheme could be implemented. To deliver water within the Monterey Bay National
Marine Sanctuary, Davidge would need federal approval as well as permission from
the Coastal Commission.