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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (posted below)

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10-07-07 - Desalination on the Monterey Peninsula: should it be public or private?

Both points of view are presented in the Monterey County Herald's October 7, 2007 Commentary: , "The desalination solution" on their web site, (an external link).
Plant should be publicly owned
Cal Am open to regional approach

12-15-06 - Coastal Commissioners reject Staff's recommendation and approved Cal Am Water Co's proposed pilot Desal Plant at Moss Landing. The Water Co's request to increase water rates was approved by the state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, December 14th.


12-8-06 - Coastal Commission staff rejects the Cal Am Water Co's proposed experimental pilot desalination plant at Moss Landing. Commissioners will make a decision at their public hearing in San Francisco next week.


12-1-06 - State Public Utilities Commission approved a 20 PERCENT RATE INCREASE November 30th. Average residential water bill will go from $32 to $36.

The rate increase was sought to cover infrastructure improvements in Cal Am's system and other expenses outlined by Catherine Bowie, Cal Am spokeswoman.

  • For more information CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's December 1, 2006 story, "Cal Am gets rate increase" on their web site, (an external link).

11-20-06 - California American Water Co.'s proposed RATE INCREASE is on December 14 agenda of Public Utilities Commission. Administrative Law Judge, Bert Patrick, proposed ruling recommends that the Company's "outreach" (publicity) costs" and project management (Coastal desal Water Project) costs could be recovered in the rate increase of up to 60%.

  • For more information CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's November 20, 2006 story, "Judge favors increase" on their web site, (an external link).

8-18-06 - CAL AM WATER RATES will be HIGHER during the next three years per a decision by an administrative law judge for the state Public Utilities Commission.


7-25-06 - PUC public hearings begin on CAL AM WATER CO.'s proposed DESAL PLANT. The water company wants PUC approval of a plan to establish a series of surcharges to customers to pay for the pre-construction costs and for the cost of constructing the desal plant.

  • For more details CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's July 25, 2006 story, "Eight days of Cal Am hearings" on their web site, (an external link).

7-1-06 - A new report on the three proposed DESAL PLANTS was recently presented by Bookman-Edmonston/GEL, a consulting firm hired by the Monterey Peninsula Water District. The report covers: Cal-AM's Coastal Water Project, Pajaro/Sunny Mesa Community Services District's Monterey Bay Regional Seawater Desalination Project, and the Sand City Desalination Project. The District Directors had questions and comments but took no action.


6-2-06 - Cal Am Water Co. to receive an administrative permit from the County Planning Dept. for its proposed pilot plant desalination plant in Moss Landing. They plan a much larger desal operation at this location after the pilot test is successful.

4-19-06 - Cal American Water Co,. the major party in PENINSULA WATER POLITICS makes a smart PR move. They have dropped a request to charge customers (in the next rate increase) the cost of their "public outreach" efforts.

  • CLICK hereto read the Monterey Herald's April 19, 2006 story, "Cal Am's smart move" on their web site, (an external link).

3-02-06 - New Watermaster Board that was created by a court order to develop a plan to manage the Seaside Groundwater Basin still deciding who will represent each agency, company and city on the new board. Next meeting set for March 22, 2006 at 1:30 pm at the Oldemeyer Center in Seaside.

  • For more details CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's February 23, 2006 story, "Water board opens for business" on their web site, (external link).

12-13-05 - Pajaro/Sunny Mesa Community Services District's proposed Desal Pilot plant approved by citizens' land use group. The pilot plant is to be located off Hwy 1 near the Duke energy power plant, the intended site of Cal-Am Water Co.'s competing proposed desal pilot plant.

1-18-06 - New Regional Watermaster Board established by Judge Roger Randall. CalAm Water Co., the Peninsula Water District, the County Water Resources Agency, City of Seaside and other cities and groups make up the new Board. They have three years to establish a groundwater management plan and supplemental water supply. A reduction in pumping water from the Seaside Basin aquifer is also required.

The new ruling sets safe pumping levels of 5,600 acre-feet per year which is 500 acre-feet less than the maximum pumped in recent years.

  • For more details CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's January 18, 2006 story, "Watermaster board to oversee aquifer" on their web site, (an external link).

1-08-06 - NEW AQUIFER STORAGE ACTIVITY - CARMEL RIVER WATER RECOVERY PROGRAM. Recent rains produced enough water in the Carmel River to allow the Water District and Cal-Am to resume the recovery program at the Seaside aquifer.

The aquifer storage program is the only new water source the Water District and Cal Am have developed since the 1995 State Order for Cal Am to severely reduce pumping from the river.

  • For more details CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's January 7, 2006 story, "Aquifer replenishment restarts" on their web site, (an external link).

10-04-05 - CAL AM wants "interim rate relief" to cover the cost of PROPOSED DESALINATION PROJECT. Cal Am officials and other interest parties to convene in San Francisco on Wednesday, October 5, 2005 to set up a public hearing schedule with the P.UC law judge for the company's proposed rate increase.


9-10-05 - Some Water Board directors criticized Board Chairman Larry Foy and Manager Dave Berger for making decisions without their input.

7-27-05 - 1,200 VOTERS IN FELTON (a small community 6 miles north of Santa Cruz) approved bond Measure "W" on July 26, 2005, to finance a PUBLIC TAKEOVER OF CAL AM'S WATER SYSTEM in their area. However, 405 voters opposed the plan. The "yes" voters agreed to ay $700 per year in additional property taxes for 30 years to pay for a $11 million bond required for the takeover. Cal Am, owned by German Conglomerate RWE, will not willingly sell, according to their officials.

  • To learn more about the expected costly legal battle, CLICK here to read the July 27, 2005 story in the Monterey County Herald, "Felton OKs takeover of Cal Am" on their web site, (external link).

7-22-05 - At Thursday's meeting, Peninsula Water Management District Board approved a ballot measure for November's election. The voters will be asked if they want to pay for the Water District to investigate the logistics of a public takeover of Cal Am's local water system.
  • For more information CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's June 22, 2005 story, "Cal Am measure set for ballot" on their web site, (external link).

7-16-05 - Cal Am Water Co. submitted their environmental study for a Desal Plant in Moss Landing to the PC. It is called a "Proponent's Environmental Assessment" and contains numerous options for providing the Peninsula with water from a desal plant.

The first of several town meetings to gather public reaction to the PEA will be held Monday, July 18, 2005 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Elk's Lodge, 150 Mar Vista Drive, Monterey.

  • For information CLICK here to read the July 15, 2005 story in the Carmel Pine Cone, "Cal Am: Desal plant will need 30 permits" on their web site, (external link).

  • For additional information on the proposed Moss Landing Desal Plant and Supervisor Lou Calcagno's conflict of interest, CLICK here to read the July 16, 2005 story in the Monterey County Herald, "Calcagno's desalination conflict" on their web site, (external link).

7-03-05 - CAL AM still pumping Carmel River for water beyond the legal limit. The water company WAS ORDERED TO REDUCE PUMPING FROM THE CARMEL RIVER and develop a new water source TEN YEARS AGO.

6-24-05 - Pajaro-Sunny Mesa Community Services Distrct drops protest on CAL AM WATER CO.'S PROPOSED RATE INCREASE. The decision was made because the PUC recently ruled that the estimated cost of the Cal Am proposed DESALINATIN PLANT is too speculative to be included as part of the justification for the rate increase.

  • For more information on the public hearing, CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's June 24, 2005 story, "District won't question rate hike" on their web site, (external link).

6-21-05 - The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Board voted Monday to place an item on the November ballot that will ask the voters if they should "be directed to investigate the cost and process to publicly acquire" California American Water Company's local water system.
  • For more information on this decision CLICK here for the Monterey County Herald's June 21, 2005 story, "Water measure on ballot" on their web site, (external link).

6-03-05 - Cal Am Water Company proposed rate increase cannot include estimated costs for building a desalination plant. An administrative law judge said: "We agree that Cal Am has not yet defined its (Coastal Water Project) in suffcient detail to allow consideration of any rate recovery."
  • For more information CLICK here to read the June 3, 2005 story in the Monterey County Herald', "Water Customers Won't See Double" on their website, (external link).

5-15-05 - The Office of Ratepayer Advocates and others challenge Cal Am's lobbying costs of over $ 1 million to promote their desal project.

5-14-05 - The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District will have controversial issues on the agenda at their Monday, May 16th Board Meeting including potential governance structure for a regional Desalination project; Cal Am's operation of the Seaside Basin aquifer storage and recovery project; and a possible advisory ballot measure.

  • For more information CLICK here to read the Monterey County Herald's May 14th story, "Tough water issues on tap" on their website, (external link).

5-13-05 - Residents turned out in force to protest Cal Am's water increase proposal.

5-13-05 - PUC hearing on Cal Am's proposed rate increase produced a free spirited debate on proposed desal plants.

5-01-05 -Cal Am Water Co. challenges Monterey County ordinance requiring public ownership of a desalination plant. According to the Water Company's project manager, "the county legislation conflicts with state law in a number of ways."
  • For more information CLICK here to read the Monterey County Herald's May 1, 2005 story, "Cal Am sees conflict in desal rule" on their web site, (external link).

4-21-05 - Cal Am Water Co. wants groups that oppose their planned rate increase to be precluded from being interveners in the pending PUC rate case. The water company has asked a state PUC administrative judge to preclude several concerned organizations.
  • For more information CLICK here to read the Monterey County Herald's April 21, 2005 story, "Cal am files to limit protesters" on their web site, (external link).

4-12-05 - California Public Utilities Commission voted not to require a moratorium on new water connections on the Monterey Peninsula. The Commission ordered Cal-Am Water Co. and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to review rate structures to insure consumer demand does not exceed the company's legal pumping from the Carmel river.
  • For more information CLICK here to read the Monterey County Herald's April 12, 2005 short report, "PUC votes against water moratorium" in the "Your Town" column on their web site, (external link).

3-22-05 - The Elkhorn Slough Coalition has notified federal agencies and Cal-Am Water Co. that it plans to sue them over the effects of overpumping the Carmel River .

Susan Goldbeck, Pacific Grove City Counselwoman, is the Coalition's attorney.

  • To read more CLICK here for the Herald's March 22, 2005 story, "Lawsuit threatened over river" on their website, (external link).

3-16-05 - Two Central Coast groups, one in Monterey and another in Felton, say California American Water Co. is trying to block potential takeovers of local water systems through legislation that would rewrite the state's eminent domain laws.

3-08-05 - California Public Utilities Commission expected to turn over future authority for imposing water moratoriums to Monterey Peninsula Water Management District.
  • Read this story, "Peninsula dodges water hookup moratorium" in the March 8th, 2005 edition of the Monterey Peninsula Herald.

12-15-04 - Merging Felton and Monterey Peninsula water districts is very strongly opposed by the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, a division of the California Public Utilities Commission.

12-14-04 - "Cal Am seeks 33% rate increase" on Monterey Peninsula and 108% increase in Felton makes the headline today.

12-07-04 - "Stop...water management for profit." was one of the many comments made by Monterey Peninsula and Felton residents at the P.U.C. public meeting on Cal Am Water Co.'s application to merge the two communities' water rates.

11-26-04 - Click HERE to see an ad by theConcerned Citizens for Clean Drinking Water newspaper compares costs of desalination facility of public agency Pajaro/Sunny Mesa with Cal Am, a for-profit company. The ad asks the public and taxpayers to give their opinion on which proposal they support.  

11-12-04 - MPWMD placed an ad in the Herald congratulating
peninsula users for complying with the State Water Board Order.

11-10-04 - Office of Ratepayer Advocates has NOT asked the PUC to consider imposing a moratorium on new Monterey Peninsula water hookups according to the Carmel Pine Cone.

Danilo Sanchez, manager of the water branch of the consumer watchdog agency, said his office is simply advocting a back-up plan in case conservation measures fail to keep water use within state-mandated limits.

11-10-04 - Consumer Group asks PUC to consider Moratorium on Peninsula water hookups until the water shortage is solved.

The PUC's Office of Ratepayer Advocates made the request as part of a formal protest of Cal Am's move to defer the moratorium.

9-23-04 - Many object to Cal Am Water Co.'s application to merge the rate structure of its recently acquired Felton Water Co. with their Monterey rate structures. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, (MPWMD) joins Santa Cruz County and Felton residents in protesting the plan.

The protest by the MPWMD also objects to the fact that Cal Am has filed individual applications on a number of issues recently, rather than filing them together in its broader "general rate case", due in December.

9-22-04 - Cal Am water Co. submits application to the P.U.C. for new desalination plant at Moss Landing. It includes an estimated 119 percent rate increase in water bills. The increase is required to cover costs of the proposed desalination plant.

Cal Am General Manager, Steve Leonard, states that figures in the application are preliminary estimates. A typical family monthly summertime water bill would go from $32.52 in 2005 to $71.14 in 2011, more than doubling the bill.

9-14-04 - Cal Am Water Co. has decided not to apply for a moratorium on new water hookups. Increased water rates and decreased consumption make excessive use of water unlikely, according to Cal Am spokesperson. Steve Leonard, Cal Am General Manger, indicated that the Company will continue following the Peninsula Water District's guidelines that call for a moratorium only in response to a long-term drought.

8-05-04 - Strong opposition to a moratorium on new water connections given at a Cal-Am Water Company public meeting. Cal-Am is under orders from the State Public Utilities Commission to apply for a moratorium on new water connections by October 13, 2004.

7-20-04 - Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Board voted 6-1 at their Monday meeting to oppose Cal-Am Water Co.'s plan to request a moratorium on all new water connections.

Earlier this month, the utilities commission ordered Cal-Am to apply for a moratorium within the next 90 days as a condition of emergency rate increases for big water-use customers that took effect early this month. The State Water Resources Control Board would play a major role in determining who would be affected by a moratorium.

7-09-04 - P.U.C. approved Cal-Am Water Company's request to increase water rates for big water users for a temporary period. The P.U.C. aso ordered Cal-Am to apply for a moratorium on new and expanded water connections in its Peninsula service area. (See below.)

The higher rates will take effect immediatel and last until November 1, 2004. The P.U.C. ordered Cal-Am not to charge highr rates for potable water used to flush salt from golf course greenes irrigated with reclaimed water.

7-08-04 - Cal-Am Water Co. to make decision soon on asking state Public Utilites Commission to approve a freeze on new and expanded water hookups.

A hastily publicized public hearing was held by Cal-Am Water Co. on Wednesday, July 7th at the Embassy Suites hotel in Seaside where many concerned businessmen and others spoke on the proposed moratorium on water connections.

7-03-04 - Major documents filed by Cal-Am at PUC at Hearing to justify raising water rate.

Click on the underlined title of each document

7-03-04 - Cal-Am proposes emergency rate increases and possible ban on water hookups at Public Utilities Commission hearing. Golf course operators request avoiding higher rates.

  • For more information, read the July 3, 2004 story, "Cal-Am eyes hookup ban" on the Monterey County Herald website, (external link).

6-22-04 - Cal-Am Water Co. faces steep fines for exceeding pumping limits on the Carmel River. MPWMD announced it was moving to Stage 3 water conservation levels. This could lead to fines for residents who do not follow rules on watering lawns, washing driveways and maintaining their plumbing, etc.

6/10/04 - Experts warn that the lower Carmel River could go dry upon hearing Cal-Am reports that lower production of water from wells in lower Carmel Valley may require additional pumping.

Darby Fuerst, senior hydrologist for the water district said, "The river's receding--caused in part by pumping." "They don't have a problem yet, but they're worried about what to do if we have a particularly hot weekend and a well failure." As the river recedes, Fuerst said, the water district,aided by volunteers, has been rescuing juvenile steelhead trout, trying to stay ahead of the river's decline..."

Read the 6-10-04 story "Carmel river trickles to crisis" on the Monterey County Herald website, (external link)

6/02/04 - If Cal-Am's water users exceed stated limits, fines that could reach $3 million "would almost certainly be passed on to rate payers."

A request that could triple the current rate for local water district water users may be presented to the California Public Utilities Commission if water use is not reduced. MPWMD users exceeded the target every day in May.

  • Read the June 2nd story "Cal-Am eyes water rate hike" on the Monterey County Herald website, (external link)

5/20/04 -Urgent Cal-Am notice: REDUCE WATER CONSUMPTION

Read the May 19th story "Cal-Am Urges its customers to reduce water consumption" on the Monterey County Herald website, (external link)

Read the May 21st story, "Despite adequate supply, water users face fines for wasting" on the Carmel Pine Cone website, (external link)

September 26, 2003 -Water fight heats up - DISTRICT SUES FOR CONTROL OVER SEASIDE BASIN- Monterey Herald

The MPWMD has filed suit to authorize it to manage the water in the Seaside basin. This is a counter move to a lawsuit filed last month by Cal-Am.

The Seaside basin supplies between 25 and 40 percent of Peninsula water. Cal-Am claims it has "prescriptive rights" to the water since it has been pumping water for five years according to a legal doctrine that if a group that uses a resource for a long time--with or without approval--eventually gains legitimate claim to that resource.

The district claims it has been managing and frequently studying the basin for seven or eight years for the benefit of the public.

The hearing on the district's intervention into the lawsuit is tentatively scheduled for October 17.

For details read the September 26th story in the Monterey Herald.

 Comments and Letters to the Editor - Monterey County Herald

Click on the title to read the whole letter

  • September 14, 2004 - Get rId of Cal Am . . . If our community wants to regain control of its water suppluy, we must follow Felton's lead and begin the process of getting rid of Cal Am.

    June 19, 2004 - Real problem is Cal-Am . . . It's new status as a wholly owned subsidiary of the German global conglomerate RWE poses a new threat.

  • August 30, 2003 - Grab for water rights . . . Did we all hear the wake-up call? Cal Am is suing for aquifer rights to the Seaside basin groundwater reserve under Seaside and Fort Ord . . . claims because it has been pumping the basin's water for five years in an "open, notorious, continuous, adverse, and hostile manner" it now holds "prescriptive rights to the water . . . .