4. CONSIDER ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION OPPOSING PETITION FOR TEHAMA/MONTERRA DETACHMENT FROM MPWMD
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Henrietta Stern Cost Estimate: N/A
General Counsel Approval: Reviewed staff note and Resolution
Committee Recommendation: N/A
SUMMARY: The Board will consider approval of Resolution 2004-__, Resolution Opposing Petition for Tehama/Monterra Detachment from MPWMD (Exhibit 4-A), along with related District participation in hearings on this matter. The detachment Petition was submitted to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) of Monterey County by the Tehama/Monterra Subdivisions owners. In short, the Petition requests that LAFCO approve detachment of the Tehama and Monterra Subdivision areas from the District, thereby removing these areas and the water distribution systems that serve them from District regulation. The Petition alone is provided as Exhibit 4-B; a binder of exhibits associated with the Petition is available at the District office for review by appointment. Copies are also available from LAFCO.
LAFCO is expected to set a public hearing on this issue within three months (LAFCO File Number 04-02). Under the State District Reorganization Act, LAFCO may amend a special district’s boundaries. The process includes a formal petition and a public hearing before the LAFCO Board. The ability of LAFCO to amend the MPWMD boundaries is included in section 118-851 of the Enabling Legislation that created the District (West's Water Code – Appendix, Statutes of 1977, chapter 527).
The draft Resolution 2004-__is provided as Exhibit 4-A. The Resolution highlights key declarations by the State Legislature as to why it created the MPWMD: (a) there is a need for integrated water resources management to protect the public and the environment, and (b) a piecemeal management approach should be avoided. The Resolution asserts that approval of the Petition is a dangerous precedent that would eviscerate the integrated management structure created by the Legislature, and as a consequence would threaten public welfare, environmental quality and the health and property of the residents of the Monterey Peninsula. The Resolution further states that approval of the detachment petition would result in piecemeal management of ground and surface water resources, interconnected water distribution systems, water rights settlement agreements, the Carmel River corridor, endangered and threatened riparian species, and regional water conservation and rationing responses.
The MPWMD letters strongly disagreed with the Petition contention that the Subdivision water supply is “distinct and independent” from the rest of the Peninsula and that the District regulatory authority is “duplicative and inefficient.” The MPWMD letters emphasized that a major source of supply for the Subdivisions is from the Carmel River Alluvial Aquifer, and that the State Legislature created the District to serve as the regional water resources manager to provide integrated management of water resources, which cannot be effectively met on a piecemeal basis. Please see the “Discussion” section below for more information.
BACKGROUND: On March 23, 2004, the District received a LAFCO notice for File No. 04-02 along with a document and exhibits titled, Petition to Initiate Proceedings under the Cortese-Knoz-Hertzberg Act of 2000 for Detachment of Tehama and Monterra Subdivisions from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (referred to herein as the “Petition”). The comments were due on April 5, 2004.
On April 21, 2004, the District received a copy of an April 19, 2004 response by the Petitioners, represented by Lombardo & Gilles, which addressed the concerns in the District’s March 31 letter. The District wrote a second letter to LAFCO on April 30, 2004 (Exhibit 4-D), which included and responded to the Lombardo & Gilles letter, and expanded on some of the issues raised in the District’s March 31 letter.
LAFCO has not set a hearing for the proposed detachment from MPWMD, though LAFCO agenda notices list the detachment as a potential item within the next three months. A very important issue is the CEQA review process needed by LAFCO as the lead agency to make a determination on the Petition. District staff understands that LAFCO will circulate an Initial Study on the MPWMD detachment. A related item regarding detachment by Tehama/Monterra from County Service Areas 69 and 100 was on the May 24, 2004 LAFCO agenda, but appears to have been delayed for a month. This detachment is relevant under CEQA (cumulative effects and piecemeal issues) and the District plans to comment.
Ø Detachment of the Tehama/Monterra Subdivisions would thwart the declared intent of the State Legislature that integrated management is needed for the water supply and environmental resources of the Monterey Peninsula; that piecemealed management is not adequate or acceptable, especially in relation to the Carmel River; and due to inadequacies of general law, a special law creating MPWMD is needed to protect the public interest and sensitive environment resources of the Monterey Peninsula.
Ø Assertions of duplication and inefficiency are made in the Petition. But no evidence or analysis, besides a listing of ordinances, is presented from representatives of other agencies that would be directly affected by the requested detachment.
Ø No statements from other agencies are provided on their current level of enforcement, how much they depend on the District to carry out certain regulatory activities, and whether these agencies are able to allocate staff time and resources to perform current District regulatory duties if the Cañada Woods Water Distribution System (WDS) and Monterra WDS that currently serve the Tehama/Monterra Subdivisions were no longer regulated by the District.
Ø No information was provided about current agreements between MPWMD and the Monterey County Water Resources Agency regarding allocation of resources and responsibilities in areas where jurisdictions overlap.
Ø The Petition inaccurately states the Subdivisions are served by a “distinct and independent source,” which is not true for the Carmel Valley Alluvial Aquifer, a major source of potable supply for the Tehama Subdivision via the Cañada Woods WDS.
Ø A complex web of interconnected water pipelines and water sources of various types exists between the Cañada Woods and Monterra water distribution systems, enabling transfer of Carmel River water to areas outside of Carmel Valley.
Ø Approvals by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the Cañada Woods and Monterra water systems that serve the Tehama/Monterra Subdivisions require signed agreements with California-American Water Company (Cal-Am) for emergency interties as well as agreements for Cal-Am to operate, manage and potentially own the Cañada Woods system, thereby increasing the potential of co-mingled water supplies.
Ø The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) water rights permits for the Carmel River diversions that would serve the Tehama subdivision assume District regulatory oversight and require compliance with all MPWMD laws. The water rights permits were issued based, in part, on signed stipulations (legal agreements) between Tehama and MPWMD.
Ø The SWRCB water rights permits requires compliance with MPWMD rationing rules in a drought emergency. But if the Subdivisions are no longer within the MPWMD, unrationed use of Carmel River water could occur while the rest of the community is on mandatory rationing.
Ø The SWRCB water rights permits clearly acknowledge the interrelationship between diversions to serve the Tehama Subdivision and other diversions from the Carmel River in light of the MPWMD Mitigation Program that addresses these issues in its function as the local manager of the water resources system.
Ø The Petition does not provide information to demonstrate whether or not surrounding water systems or wells would be affected by Tehama/Monterra pumping.
Ø The Tehama/Monterra service area derives a significant quantity of water from parcels immediately adjacent to the Carmel River (the riparian corridor). No other agency besides MPWMD actively manages or has responsibility to manage the riparian corridor as an integrated whole as described in the MPWMD Mitigation Program.
Ø Currently, the District regulates the lower 14 miles of the Carmel River riparian corridor (Camp Steffani to the river mouth). Detachment of the Tehama system from the District would fragment the desired integrated management of the riparian corridor, and create a piecemealed regulatory setting, thwarting the intent of the Legislature.
Ø Removal of a significant portion of the lower Carmel River watershed from MPWMD’s regulatory authority would adversely affect MPWMD’s ability to carry out its State mandate of integrated management of the Carmel River Basin.
Ø Detachment could potentially cause importation and/or exportation of water to and from the District.
Ø The Petition does not disclose that the Cañada Woods WDS, which currently serves the Tehama area) is currently not in compliance with the MPWMD permit conditions of approval approved on July 21, 2003.
Ø The intent of the Petition appears to be to avoid reasonable regulation shared by all other citizens and water systems within the community, even though the Subdivisions draw from a highly vulnerable public resource shared by over 100,000 people. The Subdivision water systems are regulated like all other similar water distribution systems within the District, and should not be afforded special treatment.
Ø Approval of the Petition would set a dangerous precedent that thwarts the intent of the Legislature to have a special district focused on integrated management of the water resources serving the Monterey Peninsula.
4-A Draft Resolution 2004-__ Opposing Detachment
4-B Petition to Detach Tehama/Monterra Subdivisions from MPWMD
4-C March 31, 2004 MPWMD letter to LAFCO
4-D April 30, 2004 MPWMD letter to LAFCO, including April 19, 2004 letter from Lombardo & Gilles