Weitzman: Water boondoggle is only smoke and mirrors

Regarding the recent commentary by Melodie Chrislock, the water boondoggle to Castroville is only smoke and mirrors.  Here’s why:

Cal Am’s water supply project will provide cheap desalinated water to Castroville only if required by the state Agency Act to replace freshwater exported from the Salinas Valley.  That requirement will decrease yearly from 700 acre-feet to almost zero because, according to the California Public Utility Commission, the amount of freshwater obtained by Cal Am from the Salinas Valley will go down from the test-well’s seven percent to as low as one percent in just a few years (D.18-09-017, p. 150, of the CPUC’s certification of Cal Am’s project), OWP meaning ocean-water percentage:  “The primary conclusion of this study (Hydrologic Investigation Technical Report) is that the long-term equilibrium OWP is estimated to range from 96-99 percent.

When the water to be desalinated is 99 percent ocean water, the fresh water component is only one percent.  Cal Am’s project is planned to produce about 6,000 acre-feet of desalinated water per year, and one percent of 6,000 acre-feet of desalinated water is only 60 acre-feet, far less than 700 acre-feet.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District has reported that only an additional 2,250 acre-feet of water per year, desalinated or recycled, would meet Monterey Peninsula water needs.  One percent of 2,250 acre-feet is only 22.5 acre-feet, very close to zero.

So, even if a Monterey One Water board member voted no on certification of the Final Supplementary Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the recycling expansion and the board denied it, Castroville in just a few years could expect to receive about as much desalinated water from Cal Am as it would receive if the vote were yes and the board certified the FSEIR.

Ron Weitzman
Water Ratepayers Association of the Monterey Peninsula\


About VOMB

Voices of Monterey Bay is a nonprofit online news source serving California's Central Coast.