County Water Resources Agency Fights Back To Keep Water Rights
January 30, 2013
The MontereyCounty Water Resources Agency isn't backing down on their decades-long battle to fight back against seawater intrusion into the Salinas Valley.
The agency approved a resolution 8-0 on Monday to "vigorously" battle the State Water Resources Control Board's intention to revoke a 1957 water right granted to the county, based on the state's "use it or lose it" water rights policy.
The agency diverts Salinas River water to supplement groundwater used for irrigation in an effort to curb seawater intrusion, with projects like the Rubber Dam (pictured above) and the Nacimiento and San Antonio reservoirs, but the water in question—almost 169,000 acre-feet a year—remains unused.
So the agency will also ask the County Board of Supervisors to allocate $1 million a year for the next three years to develop and permit projects to divert more Salinas River water, which would make their case to the state more compelling.
The agency's also assembling an advisory committee representing various stakeholder groups to develop plans for how to use the water.
In a Jan. 22 email to some prospective committee members, agency Assistant General Manager Rob Johnson wrote, "Your name has been brought forward as someone who could effectively contribute to the process."
Those prospective advisors so far include Monterey County Farm Bureau director Norm Groot, ag consultant Darlene Din, Salinas Valley Water Coalition director Nancy Isakson, Salinas Public Works director Gary Peterson, Cal Am district manager Michael Jones, Castroville Community Services District general manager Eric Tynan, and others.