Update: Hear a podcast of our radio story on this (originally aired on KNSJ) with audio clips from the Pine Valley Mutual Water Co. Shareholders meeting here:
By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Bob Ames Smith: Pine Valley Creek, several years ago and now, after 4 years of drought
July 15, 2015 (Pine Valley) –With water running short across the state, tensions are building where local water districts are being asked to share precious water supplies with neighboring districts and developers.
Directors of the Pine Valley Mutual Water Company found themselves in hot water with shareholders, who staged a revolt over their board’s decision to sell up to 5 million gallons of water to the newly formed Rough Acres Water Company in Boulevard. Rough Acres Ranch wants to build an industrial scale solar facility on its property that needs massive amounts of water—and Boulevard doesn’t have enough.
But when Pine Valley shareholders—the residents who rely on water from Pine Valley wells – found out about the secret sale, tempers at the latest shareholder meeting reached the boiling point, as a tape provided to East County Magazine by Charlene Ayers, leader of the Ranter’s Roost online discussion group on land use issues locally, makes clear.