Water Agency Sets Meeting to Discuss State of the Basin Report

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The Salinas Valley

The Monterey County Water Resources Agency is inviting the pubic to attend a workshop on Tuesday, May 26, at the Monterey County Office of Education Meeting Rooms, 901 Blanco Circle, in Salinas, where the findings of the State of the Salinas River Groundwater Basin Report will be “discussed and clarified.”

They’ve also put a final and complete version of the report, dated January 2015, online. This apparently supersedes the December, 2014, Executive Summary of the report linked to in our May 10 post on Seawater Intrusion and the Drought, but does not appear to change any of that document’s findings.

Unfortunately for interested members of the public who work for a living, the meeting begins at 9:00 am. Still, the news from earlier this week that simply preparing to do something to bring the basin into balance will cost more than $20 million over the next five years ($4.6 million in the 15/16 fiscal year alone) should guarantee a healthy turnout of Valley landowners and their representatives.

As the Board of Supervisors made clear on Tuesday, this money, and the doubtless much higher bills that will result from actually implementing a project, will have to be paid by the Basin’s water users. The same users who say the Agency assured them they were bringing the Basin into balance and ending seawater intrusion when they paid for the Salinas Valley Water Project (the rubber dam, etc.). The same users who, in fact, sued the County over the General Plan’s requirement that new development demonstrate a long-term sustainable water supply and got the County to replace that requirement in the Salinas Basin with a presumption that a long-term sustainable supply exists (on the grounds that they were promised water for development through 2030 when they agreed to pay for the Salinas Valley Water Project).

It should be an interesting discussion.

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