With every passing week, California American Water clears more hurdles as it sets out to build a desalination plant near Marina. The most recent victory for the proponents of the $329 million project came on Aug. 28 at the California Supreme Court.
The court announced it would not hear a challenge to the plant filed by the city of Marina and Marina Coast Water District—which means the approval by the Public Utilities Commission last year will stand.
Cal Am says the plant offers the best new supply of water, allowing the region to comply with state mandates and end restrictions on the use of water for development.
But Marina and MCWD maintain that the desal plant would likely end in the intrusion of ocean water into groundwater supplies, spoiling a protected and critical resource. Instead, they say, sufficient new water can be supplied at a lower cost by recycling wastewater.
“We are very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to not even look at this case, but we are not surprised,” Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado said in a statement. “The city of Marina never was given its day in court.”
He added that the environmental review process conducted by the CPUC was “factually, scientifically and legally inadequate.”
“It did not incorporate key scientific research on groundwater impacts, or fairly consider other available water supply alternatives that could provide water to the Monterey Peninsula at a lower cost and avoid adverse environmental impacts,” he said.
Aspects of the desalination plant still must pass consideration by State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the State Lands Commission and the Coastal Commission.