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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Weed Water Future Gets Muddied

Liam Moriarty/JPR
Demonstrators outside City Hall in Weed, California, call on the city council to reject a water lease agreement with Roseburg Forest Products.

Last week, a divided city council in Weed, California voted to accept an agreement with the Roseburg Forest Products company to continue to draw the city’s water supply from a spring on the company’s property in Weed.

Now, in the face of vehement community opposition, the council seems to be getting cold feet. 

More than a hundred sign-waving protesters packed the city council chamber Thursday evening for a hearing on the agreement with Roseburg, which has operated a mill in Weed for more than 30 years.

Under the new agreement, Weed will pay Roseburg nearly a hundred-thousand dollars a year to continue to get water. Up till now, the water has been free.

Roseburg representative Arne Hultgren said the company is pleased to have reached a deal after years of sometimes acrimonious negotiations.

“We’re glad to turn the page on this conflict and we look forward to continuing our work with the city to advance community issues.”

But Weed resident Monica Zinda spoke for many in the room when she slammed the council for approving the agreement in haste.

“I don’t think you acted with enough information, and therefore I question whether you acted responsibly.”

Roseburg says it owns the rights to the spring that’s Weed’s main water source. But many in the town – and some on the council – insist the city owns those rights.

Two of the three council members who approved the agreement last week said they thought they could still make changes to the deal to preserve the city’s claim.

Weed’s current water lease with Roseburg expires at the end of June.