Don’t need it. Can’t afford it!

Coastal Commission Hearing on Cal Am’s Desal 
Thursday, November 17 at 9am
Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chambers
West Alisa St., Salinas

The Coastal Commission staff report has recommended approval of Cal Am’s desal with conditions. To reach this conclusion they ignored both the MPWMD and the Marina Coast Water District Supply and Demand reports. Instead, they used testimony from Cal Advocates and Cal Am with inflated demand numbers that claim the Expansion is only enough water for 20 years or less. Based on that the staff report takes the position that the Expansion is not a feasible alternative, and we need Cal Am’s desal. This is the false argument we must defeat on November 17.

Governor Newsom is putting pressure on Coastal Commissioners to approve Cal Am’s desal. We need to fight back as a community to defeat this overpriced, oversized boondoggle of a project. If Cal Am were allowed to build it, we would all pay dearly. Water bills would rise by 50% to 70%, and it would double the cost to buy Cal Am. It won’t make the buyout infeasible, just much more expensive for all of us.

Melodie  Chrislock
Director, Public Water Now

You must Sign Up to speak in person or on Zoom

Cal Am will try to pack the house, so it’s very important to attend in person, if possible, even if you don’t want to speak. Whether you speak in person or by Zoom, you must sign up to speak on the Coastal Commission website by November 16. Sign up as an interested individual (#9) to speak on agenda item Th8a and check oppose staff recommendation.

Cal Am, public agencies and organizations will speak in the morning. All public comment will be after lunch. Parking is difficult, carpooling is recommended. Free chartered bus available. If you’re interested, email Take the Bus – Subject line BUS.

Email the Coastal Commission

Email the letter below or write your own. SEND YOUR EMAIL to [email protected]. Email subject line should read Cal Am Monterey Desal Project – Application No. 9-20-0603 – Oppose


California Coastal Commission:

As a Cal Am customer on the Monterey Peninsula, I oppose Cal Am’s desal project. It is NOT a regional solution.

The Pure Water Monterey Expansion is a feasible alternative that the Coastal Commission must consider. The staff report is in error. It did not consider either the Monterey Peninsula Water Management or the Marina Coast Water District supply and demand reports. These reports cannot be ignored. Please review them thoroughly. They both show the Expansion will provide all the water we need for housing and growth for the next 30 years, even in drought.

Pure Water Monterey has been providing us with water for over two years now, and it has already allowed Cal Am to stop over drafting the Carmel River.

The Peninsula does not need this desal plant. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), using the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) population and economic growth forecast, estimates that by 2045 we will need 786 acre-feet a year more water than we use today. The expansion of Pure Water Monterey will provide an additional 2,250 acre-feet a year. Where is the proof that we need another 5,000 to 6,000 acre-feet from Cal Am’s desal project? 

Cal Am’s investor-owned desal plant would produce water costing more than $7,000 an acre-foot. Why is this desal water so expensive? The extreme cost of this water is an environmental injustice issue for low-income residents. It would raise water bills by at least 50%. No one on the Peninsula can afford to add the cost of this desal water to our extremely high Cal Am water bills. 

I also oppose the siting of these desal slant wells in a neighboring water district. Marina would get none of this water, but it would bear the environmental damage to its beaches and the risk to its aquifer from more seawater intrusion.

As a coastal Californian, I cannot agree to the massive greenhouse gas emissions this plant would produce and the power it would consume. I am alarmed by Governor Newsom’s pressure on the Coastal Commission to approve all desal projects, whether they are needed or not.

Please deny Cal Am’s coastal development permit for this desal project.

Your name and city


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