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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

PUC approves water moratorium for the Monterey Peninsula

April 2011

For over 15 years, the Chapter has been following the decisions of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regarding Order 95-10 which called for a Cease and Desist order on the over drafting of the Carmel River to protect the dwindling water supply. In October, 2009, the SWRCB voted to enforce the Cease and Desist Order, and the last year and a half have been spent refining next steps.

On March 24, the Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the Cal Am Application to institute a moratorium on new and expanded water connections within the water district until a new source of water is approved by the SWRCB. This vote also meant an adoption of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision which requires Cal Am to seek from the SWRCB some procedure for exempting demonstrated health and safety needs of the communities.

Commission president Mike Peevey in his remarks described the condition of the Carmel River as a “drastic situation.” The over drafting of the Carmel River for nearly 20 years has nearly extirpated the steelhead population. Sierra Club has retained attorney Larry Silver and hydrologist John Williams for over 12 years to monitor these proceedings and intervene as necessary to protect the Carmel River.

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