Meeting Date:

January 25, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:


Prepared By:

Joe Oliver

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:  At its September 8, 2005 Strategic Planning Session, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD or District) Board indicated its intent to hold a series of workshops on key topics of Board and community interest; the District’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project was selected as the first priority in this series.  The Board reviewed the outline of the content for this ASR workshop at its October 17, 2005 meeting.  Accordingly, this ASR workshop provides an overview of the District’s ASR program in the Seaside Basin, and focuses on status updates to the following elements:



In addition, the status of a potential project utilizing highly treated recycled water to recharge the Seaside Basin will be reviewed.  This project, sponsored by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA), is known as the Seaside Basin Groundwater Replenishment Project (SBGRP).


RECOMMENDATION:  The Board should receive the staff presentation, receive public comment, and review and discuss the materials provided for the workshop.  No Board action will be made as part of this workshop.  The Board should provide general direction to staff on pertinent ASR program elements as appropriate for future Board actions, as indicated at the end of each topic contained in this report.


BACKGROUND:  Background and updates are provided for the pertinent ASR and recycled water recharge elements shown below:

ASR Testing Program


Since 1996, the District has evaluated the feasibility of ASR at greater levels of detail, including obtaining temporary water rights to divert Carmel River water and inject it into the Seaside Basin.  From Water Year (WY) 1998 through 2005, the District has injected approximately 1,450 acre-feet of water diverted from the Carmel River Basin into specially-constructed ASR test wells in the Seaside Basin.  This testing program has confirmed the feasibility of ASR in the local hydrogeologic setting, and has provided invaluable experience regarding ASR operations in the basin.  The District is continuing its injection testing program in WY 2006, while planning for expansion of ASR in the basin.  A brief summary of the ASR concept and the District’s activities in this regard is provided in Exhibit 1-A.  No specific direction is needed from the Board in order to continue the current ASR testing program in the basin.


ASR Management & Operations Agreement


Since initiating an ASR demonstration test in the Seaside Basin in 1996, the District has been cooperating with Cal-Am on installation and operation of ASR test facilities, based on a mutual desire to develop further knowledge and planning of this important water resource project.  This cooperative effort, while successful, has been undertaken without a formal written agreement between the parties regarding ASR operations.  In July 2004, during the permitting process with the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) to allow water from the District’s Santa Margarita Test Injection Well (SMTIW) to be delivered to Cal-Am customers via the Cal-Am distribution system, the CDHS reiterated their request that an agreement between the two parties be provided.  An agreement was requested by CDHS to show that Cal-Am was authorized by the District to pump water from the SMTIW on a long-term basis.  At about that same time, one of Cal-Am’s main Seaside production wells, the Paralta well, had a major equipment failure, necessitating use of the SMTIW on an emergency basis as a back-up supply for the Cal-Am system.  The cost and other impacts of this unexpected occurrence on SMTIW operations and maintenance, coupled with District and Cal-Am management recognition that a framework was needed for joint cooperation on future ASR planning, also served as a catalyst for negotiating a proposed agreement.


District and Cal-Am legal counsel and staff began developing the principles of an ASR Management & Operations Agreement in October 2004; the most recent coordination meeting was conducted in December 2005.  The District and Cal-Am also met with CDHS in November 2005 to clarify that recovery of water from the SMTIW into the Cal-Am distribution system can be authorized by CDHS during testing in WY 2006, prior to completion of an agreement.  The current version of the draft agreement is provided for reference in Exhibit 1-B.  This version, prepared by MPWMD, reflects the revised language exchanged between legal counsel for Cal-Am and the District.  The District is currently awaiting confirmation of acceptance for these latest revisions from Cal-Am.  The revised draft agreement will be included as an item for the Board’s Administrative Committee and full Board consideration in February 2006.  No specific direction is needed from the Board at this time regarding the ASR agreement.


ASR Phase 1 Project EIR/EA


In September 2004, the MPWMD Board directed staff to initiate preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the District’s ASR project.  A Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the EIR was issued in December 2004, and public hearings to receive oral comments on the NOP were held in January 2005.  The December 2004 NOP originally envisioned environmental review of three phases, with emphasis on a smaller Phase 1 project to be implemented as soon as possible upon project approval.  Based on public comments and Board direction in March 2005, the current environmental document now focuses only on Phase 1, consisting of two ASR wells and appurtenant facilities at the existing test site on the former Fort Ord military base.  In addition, the environmental document is now a combined EIR and Environmental Assessment (EA) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with the U.S. Army as the federal lead agency.  Additional background information regarding the ASR Phase 1 EIR/EA process is provided in Exhibit 1-C.


The MPWMD Phase 1 ASR Project is focused on better management of existing water resources to help reduce current impacts to the Carmel River and Seaside Basins.  The project is viewed as being consistent with and complementary to other larger, long-term water supply augmentation projects that are currently being explored by various entities.  The project entails a maximum diversion of 2,400 acre-feet per year (AFY) from the Carmel River for injection, a maximum extraction of 2,000 AFY from the ASR wells in the Seaside Basin, and an average yield of about 1,050 AFY.  The proposed operation of the Phase 1 ASR Project would result in reduced pumping of the Carmel River in Summer/Fall periods and increased storage in the Seaside Basin, which are considered to be environmentally beneficial.


Based on direction received from the Army in December 2005, the EIR/EA must now include additional environmental review required for the temporary pipeline that is to be installed by Cal-Am along General Jim Moore Boulevard in Seaside.  This effort, combined with additional time that was required for federal advance review of the administrative draft EIR/EA, has delayed the anticipated release date of the Draft EIR/EA to mid-February 2006.  The Final EIR/EA should be completed by Summer 2006.  The preliminary cost estimate and construction schedule for the Phase 1 ASR project was developed as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005-2006 budget process and was presented to the Board in June 2005.  The construction schedule calls for the project to be online at the beginning of the winter recharge season in December 2007.


On January 12, 2006, Superior Court Judge Randall filed a tentative decision (court order) on the Seaside Basin groundwater adjudication litigation.  This tentative decision relies to a great extent on ASR as a source for “artificial replenishment” and a “replenishment assessment” levied on producers as part of the “physical solution” to basin overproduction.  Thus, the Board may wish to consider accelerating the Phase 1 ASR Project to the extent possible.  If the Board desires to have the Phase 1 construction schedule accelerated, general direction should be provided to staff to explore the means and potential additional costs to amend the project construction timeline, so this can be brought to the Board for action at a future meeting.


ASR Phases 2 and 3 Project Expansions


Phases 2 and 3 are currently developed only at a program (or reconnaissance) level, as described in the December 2004 NOP, which is provided for reference as Exhibit 1-D.  District staff met with Cal-Am representatives in early January 2006 to initiate discussion for conducting additional work that would be required for these future phases to support a project level of analysis.  The initial meeting with Cal-Am’s engineering consultant took place on January 18, 2006.  It is planned to conduct additional coordination meetings regarding the phased ASR expansions in the coming months. Additional engineering and modeling analyses will be needed to determine both District and Cal-Am facilities requirements for future ASR expansions.  In addition, future environmental documents (possibly EIR amendments or supplements) will be needed to address Phases 2 and 3, once more information is known about regional land use plans and infrastructure requirements.


There is no allocation of MPWMD staff time dedicated to Phases 2 and 3 and no consultant support available for this new effort in the District’s FY 2005-2006 budget at the present time.  In order to continue phased expansion planning during FY 2005-2006, MPWMD staff will need to develop a scope of work for this additional effort, both to support the technical analysis and needed environmental documentation for future ASR expansions.  In light of the urgency for moving forward on future ASR expansions, as underscored by the tentative decision in the Seaside Basin adjudication case, the Board should discuss and provide general direction to staff as to its desire for scheduling and prioritization of additional ASR expansion work during FY 2005-2006.  Any such action will be considered at a future Board meeting in light of the court order, which includes the replenishment assessment funding mechanism, that could assist in accomplishing the additional work.


Seaside Basin Groundwater Replenishment Project


The proposed Seaside Basin Groundwater Replenishment Project (SBGRP) involves the purification and conveyance of highly treated recycled water from the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency’s (MRWPCA’s) Salinas Valley Reclamation Plant for recharge in the Seaside Basin.  Background information about the SBGRP concept can be viewed on page 85 of the proposal description that can be viewed on the District’s website at  The SBGRP is currently in the planning stage of development.  An initial feasibility study was completed in September 2004 for MRWPCA, and a presentation of the project concept was given to the MPWMD Board in July 2005.  On November 30, 2005, the MRWPCA Board sent a letter to the MPWMD proposing that a Joint Leadership Committee between MRWPCA and MPWMD be formed for the purpose of coordinating the SBGRP.  This will be an item for the Board’s consideration at its January 26, 2006 meeting.


Planning on the SBGRP is continuing, as detailed in the project update from MRWPCA, provided as Exhibit 1-E.  The Board should discuss and provide general direction to staff on how to best coordinate with MRWPCA and participate in the ongoing planning for the SBGRP.



1-A      MPWMD Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Project in the Seaside Basin, January 2006

1-B      Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Management & Operations Agreement between California American Water and Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, Draft 7(3)

1-C      MPWMD Phase 1 Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project:  Status Report on Environmental Impact Report / Environmental Assessment, January 2006

1-D      Notice of Preparation of Environmental Impact Report, MPWMD Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project, December 13, 2004

1-E      Update on Groundwater Replenishment Project, January 18, 2006




Revised 1/19/06