A New Acronym for Water Politics
Mayors form Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority to tackle supply crisis.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
A silence fell over the inaugural meeting of the county’s newest water agency as Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala signed the joint powers agreement on Feb. 9.
“It’s official,” attorney Russ McGlothlin said as the ink dried. “The Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority has been formed.”
Now the six-mayor authority is considering its first actions as the potential lead of a new water-supply plan to replace the defunct Regional Desalination Project, which California American Water pulled the plug on last month. (For background, visit www.mcweekly.com/desal.)
The audience of about 45 represented a real-life Facebook page on Peninsula water politics. “We’ve got some horsepower here,” Del Rey Oaks Mayor Jerry Edelen said. “Let’s work together and we’ll get this thing accomplished.”
Many of the public comments encouraged the mayors to define a clear role for local agencies with technical expertise, particularly the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency. Others wanted representation for Cal Am customers in the county’s unincorporated areas.
Most, however, sounded a note of skeptical support. WaterPlus President Ron Weitzman and Roger Dolan of Carmel Valley Association both wished the authority “godspeed.”
Water pollution control agency board chair Ron Stefani said MRWPCA would be comfortable as a non-voting member of the new authority, and offered full staff support for free.
At Carmel Mayor Sue McCloud’s suggestion, the board voted to invite four public agencies and California American Water to advise the authority.
Sand City Mayor Dave Pendergrass said MPRWA was born from the mayors’ angst over the Peninsula’s exclusion from the Regional Project. “Our agency was created to encourage the projects that are there, and the ones to come,” he said. “We want to make sure transparency prevails.”