Chapter opposes water management scheme for Seaside Aquifer
After plans for a huge 500-unit resort/condo project called Monterey
Bay Shores on the dunes of Sand City was shot down by the California
Coastal Commission in 2001, the developer sued the Commission. The
Ventana Chapter intervened on the side of the Coastal Commission.
Among other issues, we were concerned with the proposed water supply
for this development. The project would draw from the Seaside Aquifer,
a major component of the Monterey Peninsula's water supply, which
is threatened with overdraft and seawater intrusion.
While that lawsuit has not yet been resolved, an additional threat
to this water supply and to that coastal environment has raised
its head. Special interests have joined together to propose pumping
more water from the aquifer than the Sierra Club and the Monterey
Peninsula Water Management District believe is safe for the long-term
health of the supply. The groups favoring overpumping include The
California American Water Company, several cities, and the owners
of property overlying the Aquifer-including the disputed Monterey
Bay Shores project.
The special interests also propose forming a committee to administer
the water supply. They envision a vote-weighted body which could
outvote the Water Management District, created to represent the
public interest. Their scheme would not only give administration
of the Seaside Aquifer to water rights claimants whose interests
are not consistent with those of the public in preventing overdraft
of the aquifer, but also appears to strip the water management district
of its regulatory control. The arrangement could also facilitate
the massive Monterey Bay Shores resort and other projects which
are not sustainable.
In light of this, the Chapter is seeking to legally intervene to
oppose this water scheme. Attorney Larry Silver recently filed with
the court an amicus brief, to represent the Chapter in this effort.
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