The state of California orders businesses: cease tapping Sierra Nevada springs.
After capturing evidence on camera, California regulators have sent fines and warnings to several business that are bottling water from the Sierra Nevada springs and selling it to consumers.
Facing a severe drought for over four years, California has set tough regulations on water usage and conservation. Against this background, such actions targeted at commercial water bottling businesses are not an overreach.
Sugar Pine Spring Water located in Tuolumne County was served a fine of 225,000 dollars. This targeted the actions of collecting the water from the Sierra Nevada springs and then transporting it to other bottling companies over a period of two years.
The business had received notifications to cease all such activity in the past. Failing to comply, it received the fine in accordance with the regulations of the California Water Resource Control Board.
Commercial tapping and bottling companies are not the only ones that the state has under scrutiny for recklessly using water as the streams and rivers are running dry. Earlier in 2015, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District was also sent a 1.5 million dollars fine. The district is now challenging the case in court.
The springs that Sugar Pine is tapping into are connected to the Tuolumne River watershed. They drain directly into the Pedro and New Don reservoirs from where the farmers and irrigation districts in Oakdale and Turlock, as well as the city of San Francisco are using it.
Tapping recklessly into these springs means cutting off others’ access to the much needed water reserves.
Launched in the beginning of the 1990s, the Sugar Pine company held junior water rights. These have been curtailed both this year and the previous. Despite this fact, Scott Fahey, the owner of Sugar Pine decided to continue diverting 22 acre feet of water over a 170-day period during the past two years.
According to state regulators, 1 acre foot of water represents the equivalent of water needed by a family of four in a typical household over the course of one year.
Tapping this water and trucking it to bottling companies cuts off resources for others and ignores notices from the state regulators which have sustained that the company had no more water rights.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia