MONTEREY PENINSULA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
April 30, 2016
Updated Request to Postpone River Cutbacks Submitted Proposal Finds New Water Supplies to Offset and Reduce River Diversions Until Desalination Project Comes Online This week, a coalition of stakeholders, including California American Water, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority, Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, Pebble Beach Company and the City of
Pacific Grove, submitted a revised request to the State Water Resources Control Board seeking more time to develop alternative water supplies for the communities of the Monterey Peninsula before significant cutbacks on pumping from the Carmel River take effect.
The need to further extend the deadline on river cutbacks arose last month after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced a new, one-year delay in their environmental review of California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, which is designed to replace current diversions from the Carmel River. In 2009, the State Water Resources Control Board issued a Cease and Desist Order on Carmel River pumping that included an aggressive cutback schedule. The river, which has long served as the primary water supply for the Monterey Peninsula, is considered critical habitat for protected species of fish and frogs.
The new modification request seeks to postpone the most significant river cutbacks by five years and lays out a plan to reduce river pumping in the meantime by nearly 4,800 acre-feet, approximately 80% of the state’s total cutback goal.
“This modification request represents a monumental coming together of diverse groups. We have prominent environmental and business groups agreeing on how to balance the needs of the environment and the community. I’m pleased to have played a part in building this consensus. I grew up catching tadpoles and stickleback minnows in the Carmel River, so it is particularly meaningful that, on my last days as mayor, we have developed a win-win plan for returning water to the river and protecting the needs of the community,”said Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority president Jason Burnett. “Steinbeck said the Carmel River had everything a river should have, but for many years it lacked water. Because of the contributions of so many, the river is well on its way to once again having more water, too.”