PIPE DREAMS… Squid’s been sad to see how much destruction the recent storms have wrought in Monterey County, as the region saw too much rain in too short a time, a phenomenon likely to occur more frequently as climate change continues to worsen.
So Squid was surprised when, on Jan. 13, the county announced it would begin making “small” releases of water from Lake Nacimiento to reduce the risk of the reservoir’s water flooding over the dam. Squid was less surprised when Squid looked at the data, which shows the reservoir went from 27-percent capacity on Dec. 31 to 89-percent capacity on Jan. 17 – a whopping increase of 62 percent. Lake San Antonio, which has less inflow, increased from 11-percent capacity to 33 percent in that same time period.
Which got Squid thinking: What if there was a tunnel between the two lakes so that water from Nacimiento could move into San Antonio so as to not spill more water into an already flooded river, and store more for the drought. Oh wait! Such a project already exists! On Jan. 20, the public review period will begin for the draft environmental impact report for the county’s Interlake Tunnel project, an idea that has been in the works since at least 1991.
Here’s to hoping the recent flooding can at least motivate the powers that be to finally push the project over the finish line, though there will likely, Squid suspects, be questions about who should pay for it.
HOT SEAT… Just when Squid thought the drama of the 2022 election was over, Squid was reminded: The actual work of electeds is just beginning. And first on the list is the process of appointing members to serve on various boards. Unsurprisingly, some of the drama that played out during the election was also at work in the appointment process (see story, left).
So it was on Tuesday, Jan. 10, when Salinas City Council met, and Squid was reminded of a scene of killer whales attacking their prey – strength in numbers. Mayor Kimbley Craig found herself fighting for a seat on the board of Monterey One Water, when newly elected Andrew Sandoval argued the seat should instead go to councilmember Anthony Rocha. Rocha advocated for himself, with a not-so-subtle dig at Craig: “I’m someone who doesn’t give an extra ear to corporate special interest groups.”
Craig offered a few reasons she thought she should be appointed, such as more experience in water issues and having previously served as an M1W alternate. She’d recommended appointing Rocha to everything else he wanted. Besides, she suggested: “If you don’t like what I’m doing, take me off next year.”
Rocha had done the post-election math – “The reality is we have a different council majority,” he said – but the council voted 4-3 to appoint Craig. Even killer whales do not always catch their prey.