State Water Resources Control Board Agrees to Extend Deadline on Carmel River Cutbacks
On Tuesday, July 19, the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to extend its cutback order on pumping from the Carmel River by five years, under the condition that California American Water meet a series of milestones in the development of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project. Without a replacement water supply in place, the cutbacks, originally set to take effect at the end of this year, would have thrown the community into severe water rationing. More than 25 local representatives from organizations including the Coalition of Peninsula Businesses, Monterey County Hospitality Association, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Carmel River Steelhead Association,
Carmel River Watershed Conservancy and others, travelled to Sacramento to urge the board to grant the extension, which had been requested by California American Water in partnership with other stakeholder groups and was based on over two years of discussion and negotiation with SWRCB staff.
I’m very proud of the work we’ve done since the cutback order was originally issued to reduce our diversions from the Carmel River. The progress we’ve made would not have been possible without the involvement of the community, whose support was also critical to securing this much-needed extension from the state.
–California American Water President Rob MacLean Prior to the hearing, the SWRCB received 74 letters urging the board to approve the schedule extension and river diversion limit California American Water requested. Congressman Sam Farr, Senator Bill Monning and Assemblymember Mark Stone were among those who wrote in support.
Under the new, modified Cease and Desist Order, California American Water will have until 2021 to lower pumping from the Carmel River from a rate of more than 7,000 acre-feet a year today to 3,376 acre-feet, the authorized limit. The Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project schedule anticipates construction completion in late 2019 with water deliveries beginning in 2020. Thirty-five hundred acre-feet of recycled water from the Pure Water Monterey Project, which will also off-set river pumping, is expected to be available in 2018.
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