Regional Water Authority Prepares to Pick a Desal Project
January 24, 2013
Three proposed projects are jostling for the lucrative honors of building a big, expensive seawater desalination plant to supply the Monterey Peninsula region. And soon the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority, an almost 1-year-old joint powers authority composed of six Peninsula mayors, will choose sides.
Tonight, the authority will hear presentations on the respective merits of the three competing proposals: California American Water's Water Supply Project, entrepreneur Brent Constantz's DeepWater Desal, and the newly rebranded Regional Desalination Project at Moss Landing Commercial Park (formerly known as the People's Project, which local developer Nader Agha recently sold to a private-equity investment firm).
In November, the authority released a draft report by consultant Carlsbad-based Separation Processes, Inc., which found the Cal Am project could come online earliest but would cost the most. (A final report in December had different numbers—and a significantly higher estimate for the cost of Cal Am's desal water—but the same overall conclusion.)
The authority will hear again from SPI tonight, along with recommendations from its Technical Advisory Committee and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District on which desal project to back. The authority is expected to pick a horse in February.
It's still not clear what role the Regional Water Authority will play in the development of a new water supply for the Monterey Peninsula. The district is facing a state-ordered 70-percent cutback of its Carmel River water supply by December 2016.
The meeting begins at 7pm tonight in the Monterey City Council Chambers, Few Memorial Hall, 580 Pacific St., Monterey.