• Public input sought on water rights issue

    The State Water Resources Control Board is accepting public comment on the draft report requested by the California Public Utilities Commission on water right issues connected with Cal Am’s proposed water supply project. At issue is Cal Am’s proposal to suck water from one of two aquifers using slant wells extending offshore into the Monterey Bay.

    Cal-Am’s Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is in response to the Oct. 20, 2009 Cease and Desist Order requiring the water company to cease overdrafting from the Carmel River in order to supply water to the Monterey Peninsula.

    A revised draft report was issued after the CPUC requested revision evaluating additional information supplied in a Sept. 26, 2012 report, and posed additional questions on Feb. 13, 2013.

    Cal-Am may be allowed to pump water from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin if it can be proven that no injury will result to other, existing users of the basin. The assumption is that gravity and/or pumping wells would have the same effect as long as the amount of drawdown of the wells remains the same. But pumped wells could result in greater drawdown and thus a greater effect on the aquifer.

    If the MPWSP is constructed as described, the slant wells would pump from the unconfined Dune Sand Aquifer, one of the two aquifers under the Bay. Groundwater levels would be lowered within about a two-mile radius.

    But there is already saltwater intrusion in this area and thus the desalinated water would likely be “surplus” to the needs of other users. Therefore, it is assumed to be unlikely that any injury would occur by lowering groundwater levels in the two-mile radius.

    Thus Cal-Am would be required to show there was no injury to other users and that any fresh water it extracts is returned to the Basin.

    The report, in its conclusions, states “If the proposed slant wells are determined to be infeasible, and the project is instead designed to extract groundwater with conventional pumping wells, the potential impacts could be greater, but they would not necessarily result in injury that could not be compensated through appropriate mitigation measures.” And it goes on to say that financial compensation could be made to mitigate injury.

    A Board meeting will be held in Monterey this summer to consider the revised report.

    All written comments on the draft report must be received by the Board by noon on May 3, 2013. Electronic comments are strongly encouraged, and it is requested that they be in PDF (Portable Document Format) of less than 11 megabytes due to incoming mail server limitation.

    Send electronic comments to Wr_Hearing.Unit@waterboards.c.gov with “Comments on MPWSP Draft Report” as the subject line.

    Written reports may also be sent to Paul Murphey, Division of Water Rights, State Water Resources Control Board, P.O. Box 2000, Sacramento, CA 95812-2000.

    To view the draft report and other information go to: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/hearings/caw_mpws/index.shtml

    Cal-Am may be allowed to pump water from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin if it can be proven that no injury will result to other, existing users of the basin. The assumption is that gravity and/or pumping wells would have the same effect as long as the amount of drawdown of the wells remains the same. But pumped wells could result in greater drawdown and thus a greater effect on the aquifer.

    If the MPWSP is constructed as described, the slant wells would pump from the unconfined Dune Sand Aquifer, one of the two aquifers under the Bay. Groundwater levels would be lowered within about a two-mile radius.

    But there is already saltwater intrusion in this area and thus the desalinated water would likely be “surplus” to the needs of other users. Therefore, it is assumed to be unlikely that any injury would occur by lowering groundwater levels in the two-mile radius.

    Thus Cal-Am would be required to show there was no injury to other users and that any fresh water it extracts is returned to the Basin.

    The report, in its conclusions, states “If the proposed slant wells are determined to be infeasible, and the project is instead designed to extract groundwater with conventional pumping wells, the potential impacts could be greater, but they would not necessarily result in injury that could not be compensated through appropriate mitigation measures.” And it goes on to say that financial compensation could be made to mitigate injury.

     

     

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on April 6, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News, Water

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