Cloud Seeding Program Hopes to Intensify Big Sur Rainfall

Keeping the highway open is a challenge even in good weather

While Big Sur residents and Cal-Trans pray for mild rains, the Monterey County Water Resource Agency is preparing to intensify this winter’s rains by seeding clouds off the Big Sur coast with silver iodide. The goal is to fill the San Antonio and Nacimiento reservoirs by producing heavier rain.

Exactly how effective cloud seeding may be is difficult to say, but the MCWRA seems to believe they can increase rain intensity by 10 to 20%. Something which would not, needless to say, be welcomed by those trying to preserve homes, roads and trails in the aftermath of the Basin Complex and Chalk Fires.

A hearing, at which the MCWRA Board will be asked to certify a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, rather than a full Environmental Impact Report, will be held on December 21 at 1:00pm at 893 Blanco Circle, in Salinas.

Representatives of the Big Sur community, which has yet to be heard from and appears to be largely unaware of these plans, might do well to attend this meeting. It could be the last meaningful opportunity for individuals and agencies to make their concerns heard.

December 18 Update

Having been awakened to the fact that the Big Sur community does not want their rainfall artificially intensified this winter, the MCWRA has dropped its cloud seeding plans for this season and promised to do the appropriate environmental review prior to initiating a cloud seeding program for next year.

3 Responses to Cloud Seeding Program Hopes to Intensify Big Sur Rainfall

  1. bigsurkate says:

    Actually, XT, I did hear about these plans today, as did Frank Pinney, but was asked not to go public with them, quite yet. Once I do, I would imagine Big Sur will have a LOT to say about this plan at the December 21st meeting. I know I do and have sent some concerns off in an email. I’ll be posting on my blog this weekend.

    It’s been in the public planning process for quite some time and was on the MCWRA Board’s last agenda. Not sure why you were asked not to go public with it – it’s certainly not a secret – nor should it be. – XT

  2. Jk says:

    It would seem to me that water shortage concerns should/could be met with a moratorium on any new development/construction that relies on additional water hookups. I don’t know how effective the water seeding is, but the lesson of too much people demand for the resources available is an ongoing song on my radio.

  3. Ken Ekelund says:

    The December 21st MCWRA Board of Director’s meeting has been cancelled. The earliest opportunity to discuss cloud seeding would be at the next scheduled Board meeting on Monday, January 25, 2010.

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