Big Springs residents: water trucking for illegal marijuana grows hasn't stopped

Kelsey Shelton
Siskiyou Daily News

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors discussed issues that Big Springs area residents are still facing regarding alleged privatized water sale for illegal marijuana grows.

Despite an urgency ordinance prohibiting the trucking of water and a rally near one of the alleged extraction sites on Aug. 22, residents say they’re still noticing trucking going on.

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors during their meeting on Sept. 1, 2020.

A few residents told supervisors that the enforcement hasn’t happened, and they are frustrated at their drying wells.

Jan Cryer said the continued pumping of water for marijuana cultivation, at the expense of neighbors, is “wrong, immoral, greedy and hurtful,” and “needs to stop.”

Others said they feel threatened by the activity near their homes and said while demonstrating on Aug. 22, people were driving by and taking video or photos of them.

District 3 supervisor Michael Kobseff and District 4 supervisor Lisa Nixon questioned the California Water Quality Control Board and it’s role in assisting with the issue. 

“Is the water board reaching out to other jurisdictions?” Nixon pondered. “I hope that this can be an avenue to true action within the state.” 

Related:Supervisors say no to trucking water for illegal cannabis grows

Related::Dry wells, angry neighbors: Big Springs residents protest water trucking

District 5 supervisor Ray Haupt noted that while ranchers and farmers are “subject to scrutiny” regarding their water usage, which is regulated, “illegal grows aren’t.”

“Wells that are 50 years old that have never gone dry and going dry,” said Kobseff. “The water board needs to take action.”

A month ago, at their Aug. 4 meeting, supervisors agreed to pass an urgency ordinance prohibiting the extraction and discharge of water to irrigate illegal marijuana crops. The ordinance went into effect immediately and imposed a $5,000 fine per incident.

On Aug. 22, a protest was held on A-12 in Big Springs, and garnered lots of support in opposition  of the illegal activity from local ranchers and farmers.