Peninsula water authority, Marina officials in talks over Cal Am desal project

Peninsula water authority, Marina officials in talks over Cal Am desal project.
Monterey >> Talks have been under way for months between Monterey Peninsula mayors water authority representatives and Marina Coast Water District and Marina city officials over a potential resolution regarding the coastal community’s concerns about potential negative groundwater impacts from the proposed California American Water desalination project.
According to a water authority staff report prepared for Thursday’s authority board meeting, the discussions are being conducted at the “staff level” and are aimed at “an effort to resolve (Marina Coast) concerns to the extent possible, consistent with the needs of Peninsula water users.” Pacific Grove mayor Bill Kampe and water authority executive director Jim Cullem said Wednesday the talks are still in the preliminary and exploratory stages.
Cullem said they’re focused on seeing if there’s a way to reach an agreement that would avoid litigation over the desal project.
“It’s a delicate thing and this is really preliminary.
We’re looking for common ground.” Cullem said the talks were re-initiated by Kampe after former Carmel mayor Jason Burnett attempted to start discussions with Marina officials over the Cal Am desal project, which Cullem said were hampered by litigation involving the defunct regional desal project.
“Our approach is, what do you guys (Marina officials) reasonably really need, and can we find something that works for everyone,” he said.
We’ll see if there’s a proposal or a willingness to negotiate and then get that out in public.
(A settlement) is our long-term goal.” Kampe suggested there could be room for an agreement around recycled water and water rights, while Cullem said there could be a potential deal involving Marina Coast use of Cal Am desal project infrastructure.
Just last month, the authority board approved up to $10,000 for consultant SPI, Inc. to conduct an independent review of groundwater and modeling issues raised by Marina Coast in extensive comments on the draft environmental impact report and environmental impact statement for Cal Am’s desal project.

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