Chrislock: Cal Am Can’t Deliver New Water Supply

Cal Am appears to be taking every opportunity in the press lately to express its “disappointment” that Pure Water Monterey is behind schedule. It’s puzzling that they keep driving this point and adding veiled threats about terminating their agreement to buy this water because the contract is in default. Then they reassure us that they won’t walk away from this water deal, even though they are entitled to.

The Department of Drinking Water has to approve the final water tests and then Monterey One can start injecting water into the Seaside Basin. Once the 1,000 acre-foot operating reserve is built up, Cal Am can start pumping water.

With Pure Water Monterey so close to completion and only weeks away from production, why does Cal Am continue to make such a big deal about the delay. A six month delay on a project of this size is not uncommon.

Could it be that Cal Am is trying to hide the fact that its brand new $50 million pipeline can’t deliver this new water supply? The pipeline was designed to do so, but it can’t. A critical pump station is needed for it to function properly.

That’s right, if the water from Pure Water Monterey were available tomorrow Cal Am would not be able to deliver it due to its own incompetence.

For this new 3,500 acre feet of water to replace water from the Carmel River and satisfy most of the state ordered cutback, a pump station must be added at the Forest Lake tanks to increase the pressure to pump this recycled water to Carmel and the Valley. This is not even being built yet. Cal Am is just now asking the CPUC for permission to build it and of course charge us for it.

It’s the height of hypocrisy for Cal Am to be pointing the finger at Pure Water Monterey for any delay. Need anyone point out that Cal Am has had decades to come up with a new water supply? Now Pure Water Monterey has given us plenty of new water and Cal Am can’t deliver it.

When will Cal Am be able to meet their obligation to deliver this water and who is holding them responsible?

Melodie Chrislock

Melodie Chrislock is the managing director of Public Water Now

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