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US County arrives at settlement for regional desalination water project

6 December 2012

Monterey County in California, US, has reached a settlement regarding the construction of a desalination plant to address water shortage in Peninsula

The Monterey County in California, US, has reached a legal and financial settlement with California American Water and Monterey County Water Resources Agency, regarding the construction of the Regional Desalination Project.

A joint project between California American Water, Marina Coast Water District and the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, the desalination project was to be constructed to address the water supply shortage problem in Monterey Peninsula.

The project secured necessary approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), however the plant construction was challenged on numerous issues, including environmental litigation and conflict of interest.

CPUC ruled that California American Water cannot pursue the project due to the inability to secure relevant permits and financial uncertainty.

As per the settlement, Monterey County has agreed that its order demanding public ownership of the desalination plant will not apply to the California American Water or the company's current water supply project proposal, the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

California American Water president Rob MacLean said; "We can now concentrate on the work at hand, which is to provide a new, longterm, reliable source of potable water for our customers on the Monterey Peninsula."

The County agreed to withdraw its lawsuit against the company seeking clarification on the legality of the ordinance.

Monterey County will also support the company's endeavour to limit source water for the desalination component of its water supply plan to the shallow aquifer to draw water.

As per the settlement, California American Water has agreed to pursue the shallow aquifer as its preferred source and opt for the original plan if the shallow aquifer proves unsuitable.

The settlement agreement also mentions that potential impact of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project on the Salinas Groundwater Basin should be addressed by developing a groundwater monitoring plan.


Image: Monterey County in California, US, has reached a settlement regarding the construction of a desalination plant to address water shortage in Peninsula. Photo: Pemanducomm.