50 Years of Cal Am is Enough!

California American Water (Cal Am) has owned and mismanaged the Monterey Peninsula’s water system for over 50 years. Their corporate profit-driven approach has raised our water costs 68% over the past 2 years and we still have no new water supply. Where will it stop?

We have the MOST EXPENSIVE water in the United States

According to Food & Water Watch, the Peninsula now has the most expensive water in the country. Their 2015 and 2017 studies looked at the 500 largest water systems and calculated consumer water costs based on a typical household usage of 60,000 gallons annually (5,000 monthly). They found that the average annual cost in the U.S. is $315 for publicly owned water, versus $500 for privately owned water. But here on the Peninsula our cost is $1,202 annually!

How Cal Am has failed us

  • Cal Am is currently charging us $64 million for water we did not use! After they asked us to conserve water, Cal Am rewarded our efforts with increased costs to make up for their lost revenue.
  • Cal Am has recklessly overdrawn both of our natural water sources: the Carmel River and theSeaside Groundwater Basin. The State ordered them to stop overdrawing the Carmel River in 1995. They are still overdrawing it.
  • Cal Am has produced no new water, but they have charged us $34 million for three failed water projects and $152 million to tear down the San Clemente Dam.
  • Cal Am is years away from a desalination solution. They have no water rights to the groundwater they intend to pump, making litigation all but certain. Their slant wells are experimental. There are no slant wells being used for desal anywhere in the world.

Public water is more affordable

Currently 87% of the people in the U.S. receive their water from public agencies for good reason. It provides local control and lower costs. We too can achieve affordable, sustainable water for our community. Now is the time to buy out Cal Am and replace them with public ownership.

VOTE to do the study…there’s NO RISK!

The Public Water Now initiative received 11,557 signatures in support, qualifying it for a public vote. It will appear on the November ballot. If passed, it will require the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) to pursue a buyout of Cal Am if it is found to be financially feasible and in the public interest.

Once the initiative is passed the first step would be a feasibility study conducted and paid for by MPWMD.  This will give us the facts on whether buying Cal Am is in the public interest — and the study costs us nothing.

Who will replace Cal Am?

The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District would replace Cal Am. Created in 1978 to find new water solutions, the MPWMD is the only existing local public agency with the authority to purchase Cal Am. Over the past 25 years MPWMD has developed five new water supply projects giving us over 7,000 acre feet of new water. Cal Am has completed no new water projects in 50 years.

We can afford to buy Cal Am

Research shows that we can pay for the low interest bonds to buy Cal Am with the profits and taxes that they now take annually as a private corporation. The bond cost would be repaid on our water bills in place of Cal Am’s profits and taxes, with no anticipated increase in our bills. In 2016 Cal Am took $19 million in profit and corporate taxes. 

The California communities of Felton, Montara and Ojai, as well as Missoula, Montana, have all been successful in their recent public buyouts and now have control of their water future. We can too!

Who is Public Water Now?

Public Water Now is a local non-profit volunteer organization. It’s made up of citizens like you who are tired of being held captive by Cal Am. We are dedicated to achieving an affordable and sustainable water solution for the Monterey Peninsula. 

Cal Am’s claims have NO basis in FACT

They are simply scare tactics meant to sow the seeds of fear, uncertainty and doubt. If Cal Am could really prove their claim that our water would be more expensive under public ownership, they would not oppose the feasibility study to get the facts.  What don’t they want us to know?