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New Water Supply on the Way!

After years of shortage, a new water supply is finally on the way and could be delivering by the end of 2023. We should be celebrating! But all we hear about is the threat of rationing.
 
After a year and a half of stalling, in late September Cal Am finally approved a Water Purchase Agreement, pending CPUC approval, for the Pure Water Monterey Expansion.
 
It's important to understand that this additional 2,250 acre-feet is water beyond what we need in average rain years. This is water for growth and to lift the moratorium. It should be enough to sustain the Peninsula for 20 to 30 years.
 
As this extra water is stored in the Seaside Basin, it will build up a large reserve. In a drought, it can be used to supplement our supply.
 
So why are we facing water rationing?

That year and a half of stalling by Cal Am and its allies cost us precious time. We’ll be okay for the next year, but if we don’t have rain, 2023 could be tight. The local press seems hesitant to blame Cal Am.
 
In April 2020, Cal Am opposed certification of the Pure Water Monterey Expansion Environmental Impact Report. Through its influence on Monterey One board members Supervisor Phillips and Del Rey Oaks Councilman Gaglioti, Cal Am blocked the Expansion. These board members gave nonsensical reasons for opposing the Expansion. But they didn't need a reason, they had the votes, and they used them to help Cal Am. A year later, in May 2021, a new Monterey One board approved the Expansion.
 
Why did Cal Am oppose the PWM Expansion? It all goes back to profit as it always does with private investor-owned water companies. Cal Am makes no profit on the water from Pure Water Monterey. But its desal project would have earned it an estimated $123 million profit over 30 years.
 
Cal Am knew that the California Coastal Commission was considering the Expansion as an environmentally preferred alternative to Cal Am's proposed desal. To get its desal project approved by the Coastal Commission, Cal Am had to eliminate the competition by blocking the Expansion. This strategy has failed.
 
A visionary solution at a fraction of the cost

Monterey One and the Water Management District have given us a visionary and innovative water supply solution that will serve us well for decades to come. And they've done it at a fraction of the cost – $2,800 an acre-foot compared to Cal Am's desal at $6,000 to $8,000 an acre-foot.
 
When the Expansion is complete, Pure Water Monterey will supply two-thirds of our water. That is a first in California, and it will serve us well in future droughts since we will not be completely reliant on rainfall as is most of California.
 
If Cal Am, in league with Supervisor Phillips and his supporters on the Monterey One board, had not blocked the Pure Water Monterey Expansion certification, it would be close to completion by now.
 
This tale clearly demonstrates how profit-driven private water utilities can use local politics to block the community's best interest. And that's why Cal Am must go!
 
Melodie Chrislock
PWN Director

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