request from the Water for monterey County coalition (WFMCC) THAT THE BOARD sign a letter to the Public utiltities Commission expressing support for the proposed regional project


Meeting Date:

February 26, 2009





Darby Fuerst,




General Manager

Line Item No.: 



Prepared By:

Darby Fuerst

Cost Estimate:






General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:   Steve Kasower, on behalf of the Water for Monterey County Coalition (WFMCC), has requested that the Board consider signing a letter to Commissioner Bohn of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) supporting the Regional Project that was developed by WFMCC and is analyzed as an alternative in the draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for California American Water’s Coastal Water Project (CWP).  A copy of the letter is attached as Exhibit 17-A.  As described in the DEIR, Phase 1 of the Regional Project consists of various project components including water conservation, City of Sand City Desalination Facility using brackish water, Regional Urban Water Augmentation Program (RUWAP) using recycled water, Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Project using Carmel River water, Salinas River Diversion Facility using Salinas River water, and a Regional Desalination Facility in the North Marina area using seawater-intruded groundwater from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin (Exhibit 17-B).  As proposed, the Phase 1 Regional Project is designed to produce 15,200 acre-feet per year of potable water supply.  As stated, the purpose of the draft letter is to introduce the WFMCC to the CPUC, express support for the Regional Project as the best solution, and urge the CPUC to encourage California American Water to forgo the CWP and agree to purchase water from the Regional Project.


The DEIR was released for comment on January 30, 2009, and the comment period is scheduled to end April 1, 2009.  District staff is reviewing the three-volume, 1,000-page document and will provide preliminary technical comments to the District Board at its March 16, 2009 meeting.    


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Board not sign the letter to Commissioner Bohn expressing support for the Regional Project at this time.  Until staff completes its review of the proposed CWP and alternatives in the DEIR, including the Regional Project, it is premature for the Board to express support for one project over another.  In addition, District Counsel has noted the need to avoid bias that could disqualify District Directors from acting on any water distribution system permit applications in the future that may relate to a proposed water project within the District.


Staff does recommend that the Board direct staff to prepare a response letter that thanks Dr. Kasower and the WFMCC for the diligent work in developing the Regional Project, notes that District Directors and staff have regularly attended WFMCC meetings, and indicates that more time is needed to thoroughly analyze the DEIR before taking a position on the most affordable and sustainable water-supply solution for the Monterey Peninsula area and region.



17-A    Draft letter to Commissioner John Bohn of the CPUC from the WFMCC expressing support for the Regional Project, undated.

17-B    Table 5-2, Components of the Phase 1 Monterey Regional Water Supply Program, from the DEIR for the California American Water CWP, dated January 30, 2009.