Agreement to agree: All six parties approve MOU to hash out groundwater replenishment plan

by Sara Rubin, Monterey County Weekly, 10/10/14

Six government boards, six approvals.  That’s remarkable consensus in the realm of local government—particularly when it comes to water.

After months of negotiations, representatives of various interests came to a memorandum of understanding concerning potential sources for expanding the recycled water supply out of the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency’s treatment plant in Marina.

The project, “Monterey Pure Water,” could conceivably provide 3,900-acre-feet-a-year of water to the parched Monterey Peninsula, meaning California American Water could build a smaller (and less costly) desalination plant.

The hang-up has been a battle over who gets how much of the recycled water—the stuff that we flush down the toilet or that runs down the drain. The existing supply of recycled water produced at the Marina plant provides seasonal irrigation for about 12,000 acres of North County farmland.

Representatives of each negotiating agency brought an MOU back to their respective boards, and all have approved the MOU within the past three weeks.

The Monterey County Water Resources Agency signed on Sept. 22, and the Pollution Control Agency followed on Sept. 29.

Then on Monday this week, Marina Coast Water District signed on, followed by the county Board of Supervisors and Salinas City Council Tuesday, then finally by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District on Wednesday.

In final negotiations last month, Water Management District GM Dave Stoldt, the facilitator, offered up this wisdom to competing parties: “This never says it’s an agreement to agree, it’s an agreement to negotiate.”