On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board voted 3-1 to issue a cease-and-desist order (CDO) to halt California American Water’s (Cal-Am) illegal diversions from the Carmel River. The order establishes an upper limit on Cal-Am’s illegal diversions in the short term, and establishes a deadline of December 31, 2016 for Cal-Am to cease all illegal diversions from the river.
The Planning and Conservation League (the League) has been active in the process for five years, working with all of the interests on the Monterey Peninsula to identify alternatives to dewatering the Carmel River. During the public hearing on Tuesday, PCL’s Water Policy Advisor Jonas Minton encouraged the board to issue the CDO in order to guarantee that the Monterey interests continue working together to develop sensible water strategies for the Peninsula.
For Cal-Am to wean itself off illegal diversions from the Carmel River, it must implement sustainable water solutions like increased water recycling and conservation and brackish water desalination. With these lower-cost strategies, Cal-Am can ensure that its customers continue to receive the water that they need, without driving the threatened Carmel River steelhead to extinction and without irrevocably damaging the ecosystem.
The League will continue to actively support projects that will provide Monterey Peninsula water users sustainable sources of water.