The Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority announced July 31 that “substantial agreements” have been reached by the MPRWA, Cal-Am water company, and a number of the intervenors who had expressed concerns about Cal-Am’s water project plans.
MPRWA’s designated negotiator, Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett – the MPRWA vice-president – said that all six Peninsula mayors, the Board of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the Monterey County Board of Supervisors all support the agreement. Other stakeholders supporting the agreement include environmental advocates, Peninsula business interests, and Salinas Valley agricultural representatives.
The MPRWA has long advocated a “portfolio approach” to solving the Peninsula’s water issues about the Cease and Desist Order, set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, under which Cal-Am must cease overdrafting from the Carmel River to provide water for Peninsula customers. A portfolio would include the proposed desalination project in North Marina plus Seaside Basin groundwater replenishment and other issues such as economic recovery, lost of record, and local community autonomy.
The three agreements provide 1) for settlement on most of the contested issues; 2) settles the size of the MPWSP desal plant for design and planning purposes; and 3) makes statements regarding design, permitting, and land acquisition for infrastructure no matter which water supply project eventually gets built.