Water utility sues Santa Claus and Koch Development

Posted Thursday, July 12, 2007 9:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Santa La Hill, a rural water utility, buys its water from the Town of Santa Claus and sells it to Holiday World — an arrangement the utility says is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the company that owns Holiday World and Splashin' Safari — Koch Development — recently sent the utility a letter saying it will no longer buy water from the company, instead buying directly from the town. Koch said the action it took was necessary to make sure that a water shortage in the town would never shut down Holiday World and Splashin' Safari.

Read more from AP via The South Bend Tribune.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007 1:50 PM
Considering how much importance Will said Splashin' Safari brings to the table in terms of growth and revenue, this makes a whole lot of sense.
Thursday, July 12, 2007 3:01 PM
Granted I don't know anything about this story other than what I just read, but it seems the only thing they're saving here is money. They've just cut out the middle man. Other than that, they're both getting the water from the Town of Santa Claus. If the "town" runs out of water (as was the excuse for dumping Santa La Hill), they still wouldn't have any water for Holiday World, right? I could see if they were buying it from some other source all together, but they're not. It looks to me like they just wanted to save money and cut out the small utility. I can't say I blame them, but don't use a water shortage as an excuse.
Friday, July 13, 2007 9:58 AM
There's a lot more to it ... trust me, water shortage is *no* excuse.


Friday, July 13, 2007 11:45 AM
I'm sure there is a lot more to it. But, since I can only comment on the news story I was provided, that's what I (as an outside observer) got from the story.
Friday, July 13, 2007 12:41 PM
Yes, but your "don't use a water shortage as an excuse" implied we weren't shooting straight. Sort of hard not to take that personally...


Friday, July 13, 2007 2:55 PM
Again, I don't work at the park like you do. Neither do most of the people on this website. That's why 90% of the things we discuss are only based on partial information. I'm sure a lot of what we talk about is actually wrong too. But, everyone here speaks their opinion and how they feel about different subjects. As the Director of PR for Holiday World, I'm sure a portion of why you're here is to get a glimpse of public opinion of your park and your competition.

I started my original post with a "disclaimer" stating I was only going off the news article. I also stated that from my limited knowledge, it looked like you were getting the water from the same company in the end, so I didn't see how that prevented a water shortage. So, from a third party member of the general public, it appears that Holiday World's main intent is to save money, not prevent a water shortage. That's really all I was saying.

I'm not naive enough to think parks tell the general public or even the media 100% of their stories all the time. I also don't think they should. That would negatively affect your business and your edge in the market. Plus, people don't need to know 100% of the story all of the time. So, if you thought I was calling you guys liars, I apologize. That wasn't my intent. I was merely stating my opinion of what the situation looked like to me. I'm sure I'm not the only person that read that article that felt the same way.

Friday, July 13, 2007 3:41 PM
Well, my understanding is that, if there was a water shortage, Santa la Hill may keep their water and discontinue selling it to the park. Then, Splashin' Safari couldn't operate, causing a loss in park attendance; which is what the Koch's are trying to avoid.

Think about it this way.................

You are a kid who loves a special candy and buys it from a kid at school who buys it from a company. Well, if a company began making less of that candy, the kid you buy it from may keep it to himself and stop selling it to you. Then, your just out of luck....

Is my understanding anywhere near correct?

Friday, July 13, 2007 4:10 PM
I think you're on the right track, Dan. If you knew there was a chance the company would make less candy for a while--with little or no advance warning ... and you had the opportunity to buy it directly from the company (with a greater amount of candy available at a lower price), why wouldn't you try?

Anyone else getting hungry? :)


Saturday, July 14, 2007 2:03 PM
mmm fudge... ;)
Saturday, July 21, 2007 3:19 AM
Ok lets see if this makes any sense? Patoka Lake Regional Water Company sells water to the Town of Santa Claus. Then Santa Claus sells the water to Santa La Hill. Santa La Hill Sells the water to Holiday World. Now I know you may think this is like miles of lines but it is more like 600'. If the town would have tried talking to Patoka for more water. But the town decides to build its own water plant ($6 mill) and the mess begins.

In the summer the Town of Santa Claus uses between 600,000 to 800,000 gallons a day. Their contract is only for 400,000 gallons a day? Santa La Hill has a contract with the Town for only 80,000 a day. Okay Holiday World is Using between 200,000 to 300,000 depending on heat and operations. They have hardly any storage and it could be bad if they ever have a water main break. I think someone needs to make up their mind and get the ball rolling and get this mess worked out for the good of the town and the park. I think that Holiday world put the strain on the water system they should fork out some money and fix it.

This is what town politics cause.

Signed a local water customer.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 3:28 AM
Also I may add that Patoka has about 25 miles of pipe between them and Santa Claus. Koch just built a tank a few years ago. I Don't want to tell all of the details but we could write on this saga for days. Aprox: 600' between all of the systems in Santa Claus, Santa La Hill, and Holiday world.



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