ABOUT WATER

I am running for the District 4 position on the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District in this November’s election.  The District 4 position represents all of Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach; as well as Carmel Woods.  The Agency was formed in 1978, largely in response to the drought of 1976-77 when there was little rain, a much lower than usual snow pack in the Sierra’s, forty seven of California’s 58 counties declared drought emergencies, and severe water rationing was imposed on the Monterey Peninsula.

The District has several goals:

  • To increase the water supply to meet community and environmental needs
  • To assist California American Water in developing a legal water supply
  • To protect the quality of surface and groundwater resources and continue the restoration of the Carmel River environment
  • To manage and allocate available water supplies and promote conservation

AND

  • With the passage of Measure J, evaluate the feasibility of acquiring the local water company.

I want to make sure we achieve all of these goals.

The following articles on water are from a series I wrote for the newspaper in 2018 and 2019. While I have updated some of the information in the first few articles, they are not all current. I will talk about current issues around water during the campaign however. I present them here so you get a grounding in the issues around water on the Monterey Peninsula, around the US, and then around the world.  I hope you enjoy the articles and, as always, contact me if you want to discuss anything about water. 

Rudy Fischer

What's happening with water on the Monterey Peninsula?

The newly completed Pure Water Monterey water recycling plant. We are now finally at the stage where the portfolio of projects may be coming together.  Monterey Peninsula needs to reduce the amount of water Cal Am has been taking from both the Carmel River and the Seaside Aquifer.  Replacement projects for that water are either on-line or coming along. The current “portfolio” of water projects is really nothing new.  People have been using water from rivers and aquifers for thousands of years, desal technology has been around for a long time, and setting aside water when rivers are flowing with …

The inside of a desal plant. Last week I ended with the current controversy over the report the General Manager of the Water District recently released titled “Supply and Demand for Water on the Monterey Peninsula”.  This report seems to show that the Pure Water Monterey plant and its expansion – along with existing sources of water – would provide all the water that would be needed to meet current needs and known projects including affordable housing.  The report is incredibly detailed and looks at actual water use and how the various water projects could meet current and future needs. …

For the articles on water on the Monterey Peninsula I am deeply in debt to Dave Stoldt of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and Michael Waxer AIA, of the Carmel Development Company, and a Past President of the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy.  I reached out to them and they provided a wealth of information which put our local history in context.  My deep appreciation to both of these gentlemen, as well as Paul Bruno of Monterey Peninsula Engineers and former mayor Jeanne Byrne who, in the 1990’s founded Water 2000 to push a long term solution to the Monterey …

At the start of 1900 the population of Monterey was 1,748; while Pacific Grove had 1,411 people.  That year was also an auspicious one for the Monterrey area, started off with the opening of something we are now famous for – our first golf course.  The Pacific Improvement Company, which just 17 years earlier had built the first dam on the Carmel River, now began installation of six wells and pumps to draw 2 million gallons a day, and put in bigger pipes to take it down the valley and around the coast.  In the process they cut down 500 …

The San Clemente dam before its removal in 2017. The 1980’s were largely a decade of cooperation among people associated with the Carmel River.  In 1979 the Carmel River Steelhead Association pointed out that the steelhead population in the river was declining.  They formed the Carmel River Watch (CREW) and started work to restore the river and the environment around it.  In 1980 the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a 150,000 acre foot flood control dam.  That year the area had extremely heavy rains, which led to major land erosion in some areas as the river flowed at a rate …

What the Canada Reservoir would have looked like in topography similar to ours. As you can see from my articles of the last several weeks, water has been an issue on the Monterey Peninsula for a long time now.  There have been projects started and stopped, votes for and against water projects, and more than a few missed opportunities. For instance, in 1991 the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) started looking at the possibility of 10 different potential water supply projects – including a 3 million gallon per day desal plant and another dam on the Carmel River.  In …

The Pacific Grove Local Water Project plant. Even the city of Pacific Grove got into the act.   We took matters into our own hands several years ago to build the Pacific Grove Local Water Project (LWP) to provide water for the municipal golf course and El Carmelo Cemetery.  The result is that we are among the few Peninsula communities who have water for use though, because of state restrictions on the Peninsula, not on new buildings – yet.  Fortunately, we had the perfect property available for the recycling plant so that we didn’t have to pay for expensive infrastructure.  Right …

The Colorado River supplies about 14 percent of the water used in California.  Nearly 16 million people are dependent in one fashion or another upon a river that once was considered an uninterruptible source, and the 19 years of low inflow to the Colorado Basis presents our state with a bit of a crisis.  All seven of the states who share this water system watch the flow in the rivers and the declining water levels in the reservoirs closely.  Because of the overuse of the river – and the increasing needs by all of the states on the system – …

Rendering of the proposed Cal Am desal plant. So where are we now, and where do we go from here?  In March of next year the California Coastal Commission (CCC) will hold a meeting in Scotts Valley to vote on whether or not Cal Am should be allowed to put in more slant wells for its desalination plant.  More than likely the Commission’s staff is talking with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and – I hope – the State Water Resources Control Board.  At a critical time like this, the last thing we need is dueling agencies with different …

I think everyone knows about the arguments we are having about water here in Monterey.  In fact, I have been involved in some of it.  But there are actually a lot of issues around water in other states and – especially – in other parts of the world.  Over the next six to eight weeks I will do what I did with my articles on the environment – look at the details so that we all understand the big picture. The surface of our planet (71%) is covered in water – though 97% of that is seawater in our oceans.  …

Several years ago I obtained a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on US government concerns about water around the globe.  In reality, while the DIA was the principal drafter; the report was an intelligence community coordinated paper developed by government agencies including the Department of State, CIA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the US Department of Energy. The reason so any agencies in our government are interested in the water problems of other countries is that many countries are allies of the US, and anything that causes instability for them may …

Disputes over water aren’t just in foreign countries and Monterey County.  As the US population grows it is becoming an issue in many parts of our country.  Even which has one of the more robust and reliable water systems in the world, there are or have been arguments over water between and within many of our states. Several years ago Georgia, Alabama, and Florida went at it in the courts.  The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and the Alabathema-Coosa-Tallapoosa river basins provide water for the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  In 1990 Alabama filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, who …