Cal Am’s latest action to undermine the Monterey Peninsula’s solid hope to solve the water supply issue that has plagued it for decades is distressing. It was Cal Am that brought on the Cease and Desist Order to stop its over-pumping the Carmel River; it was adjudication that stopped Cal Am from over-pumping the Seaside Basin. Cal Am is now soliciting citizens to pen support letters for its desalination project permit. California Coastal Commission staff sagely recommends permit denial.
Cal Am is using its age-old fear tactic to induce citizens to believe there will be a water crisis, soaring bills, and sky-high unaffordable housing, if the desal plant is not approved. People certainly know that Monterey Peninsula water bills are already among the highest in the nation. With desal water being exorbitantly expensive, bills will escalate, even triple, with Cal Am’s desal, not go down. Nowhere in its letter writing campaign does Cal Am reveal the truth that its desal plant will do to the Salinas River what it has already done to the Carmel River and the Seaside Basin. If litigation ensues, then, regrettably, no sufficient water supply for the Monterey Peninsula would be available, unless Pure Water Monterey Expansion goes forward.
Cal Am has no water rights to the Salinas River or its aquifers, thus using slant well aquifer extraction operations to take Marina’s water is wrong. Over-pumping is one reason the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin is on the critically over drafted groundwater basin list. Local environmental needs change as new educational institutions, residential developments, healthcare facilities, and business enterprises supplant a former expansive military training facility, all making coastal environs and water resources preservation, restoration, and protection a priority. California requires that communities recycle all possible water resources.
Pure Water Monterey Expansion is the perfect viable drought-proof alternative water supply solution, yet Cal Am is blocking its development. Why? Because it will collect 9.2 percent capital gains profits on its billion-dollar infrastructure. If Cal Am succeeds, then there will be no end in sight to the cost of water; local neighbor’s sole potable water supply will be depleted, while threatened ESHA and endangered species, such as steelhead trout and Western Snowy Plover shorebirds, will suffer environmental harm. Marina would not receive any desalinated water, yet shoulder the burden of another objectionable, uninvited industrial blight on its shoreline.
Please endorse the environmentally safer, less costly, more sustainable Pure Water Monterey Expansion (PWME). Encourage Certification of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) to help the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District follow through with next steps. M1W’s Pure Water Monterey project has already deposited 1,000 acre feet into the Seaside Basin. Let the California Coastal Commission know we want PWME, a win-win for all citizens. Our communities want, and deserve, economic and environmental justice!