Dave Brooksher

Redwood Times

The Benbow Water Company says that their current bulk-water customers will be unaffected by a recent cease and desist order from the state. The Water Resources Control Board's Division of Water Rights says that 20 of those customers fall outside of the Benbow Water Company's licensed place of use. They've also alleged that the Benbow Water Company has been providing year-round water service -- despite the fact that their license to divert water from the Eel River is only valid from April to October.

According to state documents, an anonymous complaint was filed online in September of 2012 through the Cal\EPA website. The complainant also alleged that the Benbow Water Company's diversion of water "injures public trust resources."

Win Benbow, the water company's general manager, told KMUD News that he hopes that he'll still be able to serve the 20 residential customers referred to in the cease and desist order.

"We will be filing a petition for change of place of use to expand our place of use to include those existing customers," Benbow told KMUD News in a recent interview.

"The map is quite old and has not been updated in the last 40 or 50 years," he added.

Benbow also says that this may increase his costs, and that will likely be passed on to customers. John O'Hagan, manager of the enforcement section at the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights, says that his organization currently has other investigations ongoing in our area.