Protecting Salinas Valley Water
June 10, 2013
Monterey County Growers Fighting
Cal-Am Water On Pumping
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot says: “We do think we can support a collection of source water out of the sandy dune aquifer if that provides enough water for the desalinization process, and that would solve the problem of the proposed taking of water from the Salinas Valley Basin,” said Groot.
“What this comes down to is no harm, and how will Cal-Am prove that they will do no harm. We have hydrologist looking at this from many different angle, we firmly believe that it will be very difficult to prove that there will be no harm to the Salinas River Ground Water Basin if Cal-Am punctures into the 180-foot aquifer,” noted Groot.
“There is a prohibition through a Monterey County ordinance that prohibits pumping from the 180 foot aquifer in the coastal zone, with is about 12,000 acres comprised of the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project. And this was done for a reason,” said Groot. “It was to allow the salt water intrusion to not get worse.
Groot said that through various projects and hundreds of millions of dollars that farmers have spent over the last 60 years, we are starting to see some turnaround of the salt water intrusion. “We are finally seeing it slow down and we would like to stop it and reverse it.
And if Cal-Am sticks a straw into the 180 foot aquifer and start pumping, it will most likely be made worse. “And remember that there is a complete prohibition for growers to take water from the 180 at this point, and that should be taken into consideration here.
“What it comes down to is jeopardizing all the efforts that the farming community in the Salinas Valley have done so far to improve their situation in the ground water basin. We believe the water rights are very clear and we would like to have that respected."
Eric Sabolsice, Jr, California American Water, Director, Operations, Coastal Division, said the company may have to turn to the Sandy Dunes Desalinization Project, and will use that water if there is enough to service their customers. "I really do not think we will be able to take from the 180 foot aquifer and prove that we will not be harming Salinas Valley agriculture," he said.
Members of California State Water Resources Control Board.