In wet years, the Peninsula could get by without desal.

In wet years, the Peninsula could get by without desal.. A question that’s long been asked about California American Water’s proposed desalination plant – and which is brought up in several letters commenting on the project’s environmental impact report – is exactly how big it should be.
What’s surprising is that, in a year as wet as this one, the plant wouldn’t even be necessary.
Pure Water Monterey, a recycled water project launched by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, will deliver 3,500 acre-feet of water annually to the Monterey Peninsula beginning in 2018.
And MPWMD’s other water supply project, Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), which has been delivering water for nearly a decade, is having its most productive year yet due to record winter rains and increasing operational efficiency.
“We’re rocking,” says Dave Stoldt, MPWMD’s general manager.
When certain flow thresholds on the Carmel River are met, “excess” water is pumped to Seaside and injected into the Seaside Aquifer for storage and later use.
Until this year, the most water the project produced in a year was 1,117 acre-feet in 2011.
This year, however, it has produced more than 1,800 acre-feet and counting, and Stoldt expects it will reach about 2,200 acre-feet.
Those numbers tell an interesting story: The Monterey Pipeline, which is being built to convey water for Pure Water Monterey, will increase the production capacity of ASR by more than 40 percent.
But for now, says Jon Lear, MPWMD’s senior hydrologist, ASR allows the district to “bank” water.

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