The Fight Over Monterey Peninsula’s Water Future is a Debate Over Who Gets To Decide

What is at stake is the water supply for the Monterey Peninsula. Consuming water drawn from the Carmel River is no longer feasible, neither ecologically nor legally. But the power to decide on an alternative supply is largely vested in the hands of public officials from outside the region.

With An Impending Deadline, Cal Am Pushes For Desal Plant Permits Amid Changing Waterscape.

When you turn on a faucet on the Monterey Peninsula, you’re consuming water that’s been illegally pumped from Carmel River. Now, after more than two decades of this, scores of public officials, utility executives and citizen advocates are working – and sometimes fighting – to replace the region’s water supply before state-mandated sanctions kick in. California American Water is forging ahead with its plan: a desalination plant near Marina. But operating a desal plant is energy intensive and the construction itself will cost about $329 million. Spread across Cal Am’s local customer base of 40,000, that sum averages $8,225 per ratepayer, an expense that would be collected over the course of a few years.

As Cal Am’s Desal Project Is Set For Approval, Important Questions Remain About Its Water’s Cost.

As the California Public Utilities Commission is set to consider approving California American Water’s proposed desalination project sometime in September – as the Weekly went to print, it was not yet clear if it would be considered on Sept. 13 or Sept. 27 – crucial questions about the cost of that water remain unanswered.