Sept. 24, 2022 – Monterey Herald


Cooperation is needed to solve water issues

The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce applauds state Sen. John Laird for his insightful op-ed last Sunday. The Central Coast has a remarkable number of siled interests engaged in our water issues. It’s time to break down the silos that have plagued discussions for years.

Water is foundational — be it for the environment, drinking, sanitation, growing food, housing, government or business — none of us can live and prosper without it. It is essential to analyze how to operate stormwater, wastewater and drinking water systems holistically in order to improve management of our ground and surface water resources. We are looking forward to the best and brightest in Monterey County renewing cooperative efforts to engage in developing solutions that benefit all.
As Senator Laird said, “the clock is ticking,” — let’s get to work.

— Jenny MacMurdo, Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

Comparing Cal Am’s desal to regional desal project

This is in response to the Sept. 21 letters on water supply issues. Water supply issues? tourism vs. Residents vs. Agriculture — what else is new? Can’t we all just get along? Maybe we should resolve our differences on the basis of which group is paying the most property taxes. Or which group is paying the most for each gallon of water it uses. Why should residents pay for a desal plant that the tourism industry wants? Why should Marina bear the burden of a desal plant that provides no water or anything else for it and that Monterey Peninsula residents do not want or need?

Why should Monterey Peninsula ratepayers have to pay for yet even more water than they use or can afford?

Where was the tourism industry when Cal Am and Monterey County killed the regional desal project that would have provided water to both Marina and the Monterey Peninsula for a small fraction of the cost of Cal Am’s proposed desal plant, a plant that creates more questions than answers — a plant seeking approval for over 10 years without success when the regional desal project had achieved approval in less than a single year?

The clock is ticking? Maybe, when we really need new water, we should go back to the future. It would take many fewer tick-tocks.

— Ron Weitzman, President of the Water Ratepayer Association of the Monterey Peninsula

A regional approach is needed on water issues

Recent Herald letters convey the same “stuck” approach that prevents innovation and neighborly consideration. A myopic approach that only considers the Monterey Peninsula fails to consider the broader issue.

The Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin is on the state’s critically overdrafted groundwater basin list. Self-centered concerns will not fulfill the regional vision we need. Agriculture interests use the majority of our water, so they must be part of the regional water supply brainstorming initiative Supervisor Mary Adams is spearheading.

Expounders forget that the Cal Am desal project would permanently destroy the endangered plover and environmentally sensitive habitat area in Marina, while potentially harming the Monterey Bay marine sanctuary.

The desal project description hides the fact that the slant wells, by design, induce seawater intrusion and also extract fresh water from Marina’s Dune Sand aquifer. Yet the desal project would not provide a single drop of water to Marina. This desal project further exacerbates water issues, it does not solve them.
Can the agricultural community work more to collaborate and cooperate in fairness to their neighbors? State Sen. John Laird pointed out the environmental injustice to Marina.

Law prohibits the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin aquifer water from being transported outside the area. Why isn’t this project being proposed for the Carmel or Monterey beaches instead?

Cal Am’s desal seems sheer folly. We need both a regional and a reasonable approach that does no harm to any neighbor. Can we please work together with wisdom, kindness, and a broader regard for each other? we must!

— Margaret-Anne Coppernoll, Marina

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