Sunday, June 10, 2012

A pocket guide to local water politics.

Is anyone besides me having trouble keeping track of the diverse cast of agencies trying to solve our water problems? Based solely on what I read in the newspapers, here are what I understand to be the major players in the ongoing failure to secure a legal and sustainable water supply for the Monterey Peninsula.

The State which decreed that we must stop most of the pumping of water from the Carmel River aquifer by 2016 or else.

Voters, who in 1993 and 1995 rejected not one, but two water supply projects which would have solved the problem long ago.

A Water Board which has been unable to come up with any significant solutions since voters rejected both of the projects it developed in the 1990s.

A neighboring Water District that is still licking its wounds after failing to take control of The Peninsula's water supply by pretending to be the agency that would save The Peninsula from the ineffective Water Board.

A County Board of Supervisors which has arbitrarily decided that any desalination plant in the county must be publicly owned.

A Private Water Company that is responsible for providing water to The Peninsula. After several failed attempts to work with public agencies, it has decided to ignore the county ban on private desalination plants and build one anyway.

A Prominent Local Businessman who claims he can build a desalination plant much cheaper than the Private Water Company.

A City Council that has taken it upon itself to be the public agency responsible for the Prominent Local Businessman's project even though it would be built in another community twenty miles outside its jurisdiction.

A variety of grassroots citizen groups and business associations, each of which say they have the answers if we just listen to them and not those other groups.

A Water Authority composed of a group of mayors from every city on The Peninsula determined to make sense of this mess, a process that looks more and more like herding cats.

So there you have it. There are too many cooks in the kitchen. If we can't get this list whittled down to one lead agency pretty darn fast we're gonna be toast.

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