Mayors to Decide How Serious They Are About Avoiding Rationing

The mouth of the Carmel River as viewed from Whaler’s Knoll at Pt. Lobos

Are Monterey Peninsula leaders really serious about avoiding rationing? We’ll find out tonight, as the mayors’ new Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority decides whether or not to expand its mission to include seeking additional water for growth.

Back in February, we pointed out that the reason the Monterey Peninsula has been unable to address its water problems for so many decades has been the stalemate between the ratepayers, who want a secure and legal supply at the lowest cost possible, and development interests, who want those ratepayers to pay for additional water for growth.

We concluded that post like this:

So the real question is this: Are business leaders – especially in the Peninsula’s powerful hospitality industry – worried enough about the economic impact of rationing to want to get on with securing a legal supply as quickly as possible, or will they maintain solidarity with those who see the State Water Board’s order as an opportunity to extort current residents into subsidizing dreams of future growth?

We’ll find out soon enough. The answer will be easy to read in the proposals that come forward in the coming months from Cal Am, the MPWMD, the mayors, etc. – and in the reaction those proposals get from various interests.

And, sure enough, that is exactly what the mayors will be grappling with tonight. From what we read in The Herald, it appears that the expansion of the Authority’s mandate to include water for additional growth is being pushed by Pacific Grove Mayor and Fifth District Supervisorial Candidate, Carmelita Garcia, and that Monterey Mayor, Chuck Della Sala, and Carmel Mayor, Sue McCloud may have cold feet due to a growth component “making it more difficult or even impossible to attract broad public backing.”

So at least two mayors seem to understand the potential consequences of letting their new Authority drift off down the dead-end path the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District blazed back in the 80’s and 90’s. That’s a hopeful sign. But the real test will be tonight’s vote.

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