Peninsula Water Fee Moves Forward
July 2, 2012
The Monterey Peninsula needs fresh water, which takes money. That's the bottom line for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board, which on June 27 adopted a new water fee by a 6-1 vote.
The fee will be dedicated specifically to efforts to develop new water supplies. District projects include aquifer storage and recovery, groundwater replenishment and possibly a small desalination plant on the Monterey Peninsula, all of which are expected to provide less costly water than a proposed regional desalination plant.
In approving the contentious fee, the MPWMD board made several last-minute changes, including new sunset provisions, the creation of a citizens' advisory panel, overhead spending caps and a new approval process for future changes.
MPWMD logged more than 10,000 protests to the water fee, but it wasn’t enough to block the new charge. Still, the strong showing against the fee prompted the district to negotiate with opponents, who maintained the charge should have faced a public vote.
Opponents with the Monterey County Association of Realtors and Monterey Peninsula Taxpayers Association have suggested they might sue anyway.
The Peninsula is under state orders to cut back on 70 percent of its primary water source, the Carmel River, in December 2016.