Monday, August 23, 2010

Monterey Regional Water Project

Someone on a discussion forum directed me to this website for the Desal Response Group. It provides the most concise explanation I have yet seen for the proposed Monterey Regional Water Project, which would build a desalination plant to provide for Peninsula water needs.

The more I look into this project the less I understand it. The physical plant seems straightforward enough. A desal plant in Marina, and a pipeline to The Peninsula. All well and good.

What makes my head spin is the array of different agencies who would have responsibility for the project. Apparently, one agency, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, would own the intake pipes. Another, the Marina Coast Water District, would own the desal plant while Cal-Am ratepayers (you and I) would pay for it. Yet Cal-Am would only have control over the pipeline to the Peninsula. Yet another agency would be responsible for the salty water discharged back into the bay. And the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is nowhere to be found.

So who would be responsible? So many agencies are involved that if something goes wrong it would be all too easy to do the BP Shuffle, with each agency blaming the others and none taking responsibility themselves.

In the mid '90s I voted for two water projects, a desal pant in Sand City and a new dam on the Carmel River. I'd vote for this plan, too, if the management agreement was as straightforward a the physical plant. But the management plan is such a bureaucratic mess that if it came up for a vote I would have to vote NO.
 

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