Managing the local WATER MESS
OLDGUY49 and Discourse on the Local Water Mess
July 28, 2012
After reading about the PUC hearing and the absolute inability of Cal Am to hear anything from the public resembling sanity or sense on the new water application, anyone want to engage in a dialouge? I hope the readers of this paper understand that the groundwater and recycled water the project entails are owned by the Salinas Valley. Cal Am disputes the need for a contingency plan and has a "strategy" for dealing with a $4B industry that is not about to give up its water rights. Further, the politics of the County of Monterey are heavily influenced by the Agricultural Industry, specifically the Salinas Valley. Do you honestly believe that Simon Salinas, Fernando Armenta and Lou Calcagno are going to sit by idly while we on the Peninsula watch Cal Am attempt to challenge a "public ownership" ordinance that has been in place for decades and is valued by the Ag Industry? The County filed a shadow suit to speed up the process; what if the Salinas Valley presses for adjudication of the basin to protect their water rights, that is a 20 year process, at least. Here is a crazy idea that is probably legally indefensible, but I will throw it out anyway. The farmers in the Salinas Valley are excellent business people and they pay 90+ percent of the bills. Instead of treating sewer water in the winter and injecting it into our Seaside aquifer, lets buy some of the excess winter flows of the Salinas River in the winter, treat it, and pump fresh water into the aquifer. According to the Project EIR for the Salinas Valley Water Project, on average 250,000 acre feet of water flow into the ocean every year. Some of this is needed for fish flows, but according to the report, in an average year there are 67 days where water could be harvested and treated, at a rate of 800 acre feet per day. We need 10,000 acre feet, lets negotiate with the Salinas Valley instead of fight with the. Lets call this our "contingency plan". We have four years to figure this out and our current Cal Am plan entails a smaller DeSal plant that must be located in the Salinas Valley, I am sure for engineering reasons that escape me, but I will assume is accurate. That brings the whole water rights and ordinance issues into play. The second leg of the stool makes sense, accessing excess winter flows from the Carmel and injecting into the aquifer, the winter flows of the Salinas make the Carmel look like a puddle, so think about it, and Keith Israel's plan to treat sewage, place it in the aquifer, and draw it back out in the summer, during the height of the tourist season. I am certain "toilet to water glass" will play well on the Peninsula. Only problem with this last strategy is the Pollution Control District does not own the inflows or outflows of the treatment plant, you guessed it, the Salinas Valley does. Another legal battle.......