On Wednesday, California Water Resources Control Board officials ordered Sugar Pine Spring Water to stop tapping water sources in the Sierra Nevada for bottling and selling, according to the AP. Regulators captured tanker trucks entering and leaving one of Sugar Pine’s plants on video.
Kathy Mrowka, the enforcement manager of the Water Resources Control Board, told the AP that Sugar Pine is the first commercial water bottling company that the state has pursued legal action against this year. The proposed sanctions include a nearly $225,000 fine for unlawfully collecting and transporting water to bottling plants for the past two years.
The state has proposed fines against multiple irrigation districts, including a $1.5 million dollar fine against the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District that is currently being challenged, according to the New York Times. Crystal Geyser Water Co. plans to tap an aquifer in Siskiyou County, despite local opposition. The springs that Sugar Pine tapped are within the state’s jurisdiction because they are surface waters as opposed to groundwaters, California water board spokesman Tim Moran told the AP. But the state cannot intervene with Crystal Geyser Water Co.'s tapping location because groundwater regulations will not be finalized for years.