Just when I thought the whole Oildale water fight was quietly gliding into history, BAM!
No way. The war between Oildale Mutual Water Company and North of the River Municipal Water District (NOR) is hotter than ever.
Now I find out there are allegations of theft and death threats that have been taken so seriously the Oildale Mutual offices have been on “lock down” since mid-May and NOR has security guards hovering over its public meetings.
Not to mention last-minute attempts to boost benefits just weeks before NOR employees are set to be laid off.
You gotta love the ‘dale.
OK, so some background first.
Oildale Mutual is a private, nonprofit company founded in 1919. By the 1960s, it was clear the growing population couldn’t rely on groundwater alone.
In 1969, NOR was formed as a public agency to act as a pass-through, wholesaling state water to Oildale Mutual and another water company, Highland Knolls. After NOR took over Highland Knolls in 1981 things went sour.
Oildale Mutual accused NOR of using wholesale money to fund its retail side and sued, later settling. It sued again in 2011 accusing NOR of ignoring the settlement from the first lawsuit.