raised at the meeting.
Fountain Valley officials and residents showed up to protest the possible
drilling of an extraction well at a Laguna-owned piece of property in the
parking lot behind Kmart on Harbor Boulevard and Lilac Avenue.
The Laguna Beach district is looking to lower water rates and create an
emergency source of water by claiming ground-water basin rights dating
back to 1926. Water for Laguna Beach is now supplied by the Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California, which imports water from the
Colorado River and Northern California.
In 1993, the Orange County Water District agreed to let Laguna Beach pump
water from a well in Huntington Beach. However, Laguna has not done so
because the water at that well is contaminated by saltwater.
By trying to drill in Fountain Valley, the district is reaffirming its
rights in the basin, said Jim Nestor, the Laguna Beach district's acting
However, Orange County Water District officials said Laguna Beach doesn't
have any right to take water from a well in Fountain Valley.
"It's an illegal exportation of water," said Ron Wildermuth, the Orange
County Water District's spokesman. "It's a violation of state water
Wildermuth said Laguna Beach has not paid taxes to the Orange County
Water District since the 1940s that would have helped maintain and
improve the basin.
"We worked hard to increase the yield in the basin. They didn't
contribute to the effort," he said.
The Orange County Water District isn't alone in its opposition to
"They haven't properly addressed all the impacts the project would have
on Fountain Valley," said Ray Kromer, Fountain Valley's city manager.
The city and its residents in the Tiburon North and the Harbor Valley
homeowners associations are concerned about the noise the drilling and
the construction of a pipeline along the paved portions of Harbor
Boulevard and Edinger Avenue would bring.
"We're a very quiet complex," said Jean Kulemin, a member of the Tiburon
Homeowners Assn. "Drilling would be intolerable."
The Laguna Beach district said it would get in and out as quickly as