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????I want to congratulate the Carmel Pine Cone on being the latest victim to obtain a Cal Am press release and print it in a newspaper as journalism: “Slant Well Salinity not There Yet” but …”it’s moving in the right direction, Cal Am says,” on Page 1 of Friday’s edition. Perhaps this pronouncement could have generated a couple of piercing questions from the newspaper. Since that did not happen, let us discuss what was reported.

1. “The Company said Thursday that the facility (slant well) has completed an important five day continuous operation of the well, with promising results.” Response: The initial operation testing is a CEQA requirement, with immediate reporting to parties required.

2. “At one of the monitoring wells, Cal Am said the drop in groundwater levels and salinity changes (due to the pumping of 2,000 gallons per minute) were much better than limits set by the California Coastal Commission.” Response: Swell, what is the reduction and salinity changes at the other six monitoring wells?

3. “The salinity of the water from the test well itself increased from 23,000 parts before the test to 26,000 parts at the conclusion of the 5 day test.” Response: 23,000 ppm is 65.71% seawater, or 34.29% fresh water. At 26,000 the numbers are 74.28% and 25.71%. This is a far cry from 4%, but ask yourself how does the water composition change by 3,000 in a five day test? Seawater intrusion, remember this is an unconfined aquifer.

4. “Given the large volume of water located within the shallow dunes sand and relatively small pump volume,” Cal Am reported that “these two trends are very positive and indicate that ocean water is moving toward the well.” Response: And fresh water is being evacuated from the aquifer, and pumped directly back into the ocean in violation of state law and the Beneficial Use rules of the California Water Code.

I am sure it is possible to read this article in a positive light and ignore the Cal Am spin, but the statements against self interest, in this article, in their water rights lawsuits have to make their attorneys cringe. Cal Am has consistently said it will draw primarily seawater and that any take of fresh water would be incidental. Let me put the 2 year “take” Cal Am proposes into mathematical perspective.

1. 2,000 gallons per minutes equal 2,880,000 gallons per day. That is equal to 8.32 acre feet per day. Five days of testing equals 41.6 acre feet for the CEQA test. Of that 41.6 acre feet, approximately 30% (split the diff. 23K v 26K) is fresh water, or 12.48 acre feet.

2. Now let’s run the test for the first year: 1,051,200,000 gallons of water, or 3,038.15 acre-feet of water, that will be pumped into one pipe and blown back out into the ocean in another pipe, with no beneficial use. Assuming the 30% fresh ratio, that is 911.45 acre-feet of fresh water wasted. These numbers may be low because Cal Am has been permitted and is allowed to pump 4,000 acre-feet per year for 2 years, so they may increase the pump rate, but we need to ask them.

3. Second year: Assume same numbers, another 3,038.15 acre-feet of water, and another 911.45 acre-feet of fresh water.

4. Combining the two years gives us 6,076.3 acre feet of water pumped, of which 1,822,900 is Salinas Valley fresh water that has simply been illegally extracted from an overdrafted basin by increasing seawater intrusion.

Now let’s politically put these numbers into perspective. Recently two land-use decisions were made by the Board of Supervisors that allowed the projects to move forward. I forget the numbers on one of the projects, but the other was 90 acre-feet of Zone 2C water per year. For the record, I live off Highway 68 and am not a fan of either project, but I am simply trying to make a point. The posturing from the dais at the Board of Supervisors meeting predictable. Jane Parker voted no, and I truly believe she votes her conscience and believes what she says, water is an issue, and a no vote. Potter, after doing a head count and knowing he had 3 votes yes, pontificated about 90 acre-feet and voted no.

Where is the hue and cry over the 1,822.90 acre feet of Zone 2C water being wasted on a test that will never get close to 4% salinity. And why is 4% a magic number? It is still water Cal Am does not own and not legally transport.

Let me put two points to rest for the Cal Am naysayers who say 1) the test was necessary, and 2) we did not have preexisting test data.

The test numbers in the EIR certified by the state Public Utilities Commission in 2010 pegged the fresh water percentage in the groundwater at the CEMEX site at 25%. Going vertical with a deeper core at the same site generated the infamous 15% that was heavily debated. Memories starting to return? All you have to do is pull up the prior EIR to find this data.

The State Water Resource Control Board and the Coastal Commission, following CEQA guidelines, require evaluation of all the applicable water sources. Prior data testing that is timely and relevant may be included in the data set presented to the regulatory authorities, for evaluation.” Straight from the CEQA handbook, perhaps Marc Del Piero can weigh in on this.

One final thought, the salinity and total dissolved solids measurements can be done hourly and with a kit. I find it interesting that two months turned into a Friday report with no other press outlet reporting. Congratulations, Pine Cone, on hard-hitting investigative journalism.

Steve Collins is an accountant and former chairman of the Monterey County Water Resource Agency board of directors. He helped lead the county’s efforts to develop a desalination plant in partnership with Cal Am and was prosecuted for a conflict of interest that he maintains was encouraged and approved by top county officials.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ron Weitzman April 10, 2015, 11:41 pm

    Bravo, Steve. And bravo, Royal, for printing it. I emailed out a similar critique of the Pine Cone article earlier today: “See today’s Pine Cone report on early test-well results. Notice that the water-quality data refer only to the results of one of the four or more monitoring wells, not the test well itself. Because these are the only quality data reported, we can infer that they are Cal Am’s most favorable results: between 25 percent and 35 percent fresh water in the extracted brew. Of course, that is the reason Cal Am gave up on its originally-proposed source of water, which was the near-surface Dune Sand aquifer, where the monitoring well withdrew its water. Coming from the test well or any well, 25 percent fresh water would trigger the Agency Act prohibiting exportation of groundwater from the Salinas River Groundwater Basin. In addition to delivery of the fresh-water component to the Monterey Peninsula, exportation includes dumping the non-fresh-water component of the brew into the ocean. Exportation of groundwater (of whatever composition) lowers the water table and promotes saltwater intrusion. Saving the Carmel River basin at the expense of the Salinas River basin is against state law, codified explicitly for Monterey County in the Agency Act. The major dramatic question now is whether Cal Am can get around that act as it has gotten around Monterey County’s ordinance prohibiting a private company from owning and operating a desalination plant in the county. Right now, we are in the public-relations phase of that process.” PR 101.

  • Bill Carrothers April 11, 2015, 3:26 am

    Mr. Collins, I, and I suspect many others, will be greatly indebted to you if you will share with us exactly what laws deny Monterey County citizens the right to desalinate brines having significantly less salt concentrations than ocean water. The practice is commonplace in other parts of California (i.e., Chico) and produces potable water at a fraction of the cost of seawater desalination. Why is it that, for any entity, public or private, to do this in other counties is perfectly legal, but by some bizarre quirk of jurisprudence gone amuck, illegal in Monterey County? Doesn’t the farm community realize that groundwater brine desalination is the only way that they will ever be able to restore the groundwaters that have been destroyed for agricultural use by their rapacious pillaging of the Salinas Valley Watershed?

    • Stephen Collins April 11, 2015, 6:49 am

      Bill, I will leave the rapacious pillaging to you. You miss the legal point entirely. It is not illegal to desalinate brackish water, in fact, the less salinity, the better. It is illegal to steal someone else’s brackish water from anywhere, much less an over drafted basin and transport it for your own needs.

      • Marc Del Piero April 11, 2015, 12:17 pm

        Mr. Collins’ analysis is correct. Cal-Am’s conduct violates over 100 years of California groundwater rights law. The fresh water that they are pumping belongs to the overlying landowners in the Salinas Valley, not to Cal-Am. The Salinas Valley groundwater basin has been in overdraft for over 60 years and California law holds that, in an overdrafted percolated groundwater basin, there is no groundwater available for junior appropriators (Cal-Am) to take outside of the basin. Since it is an over-drafted, percolated groundwater basin, Cal-Am has no groundwater rights in the Salinas Valley and cannot secure any without the illegal taking of groundwater rights from innocent landowners who have never contributed to the problems on the Peninsula. The Salinas Valley is an over-drafted groundwater basin that has been designated as a potable groundwater supply by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for decades. California groundwater law holds that the Doctrine of Correlative Overlying Water Rights applies, (Katz v. Walkinshaw 141 Cal. 116; City of Barstow v. Mojave Water Agency, 23 Cal.4th 1224 (2000)). In an over-drafted basin, there is no surplus water available for new “groundwater appropriators” (Cal-Am), except those prior appropriators that have acquired or gained pre-existing, senior appropriative groundwater water rights through prior use, prescriptive use, or court order. Cal-Am has none of these. They are stealing potable groundwater, to which they have no ownership, and dumping (wasting) it into the ocean. This is why the Ag Land Trust filed a lawsuit in December, 2014 that will be heard in a couple of months.
        Cal-Am has no rights and no court order. Further, their current conduct violates the “waste and unreasonable use of water” provision of the California Constitution, violates the 1968 SWRCB Non-Degradation Policy that flatly prohibits the intentional pollution/contamination of a potable groundwater supply by any party regardless of the reason, and violates the authorizing statute of the MCWRA adopted by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson in 1995 which prohibits the export of groundwater out of the Salinas Valley.
        “Just because Cal-Am can drill a well, does not mean that it has any legal right to pump water from beneath another land owner’s property”!!! Cal-Am has no groundwater rights.
        “Theft is the unlawful appropriation of another’s property without permission for personal financial gain.” That is what Cal-Am is doing.

        • Stephen Collins April 11, 2015, 1:08 pm

          Thank you, Marc, you gave a better explanation than I ever could.

        • Michael Baer April 13, 2015, 1:48 pm

          And yet. . . And yet. . . The California Coastal Commission disregarded this and many other problems with the test slant well, and with no substantive discussion, approved this debacle BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT(!!!), the final legal hurdle to allow the drilling to begin. As Woody Allen once said, the hearing was “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of two mockeries of a sham!”

        • Bill Carrothers April 13, 2015, 4:51 pm

          Marc, I appreciate your citations. I suspect that a careful examination of each of the citations will enable a competent water attorney to counter-sue Ag-land Trust for malicious and unreasonable litigation, and get your “innocent” senior water rights holders out of the picture. I cannot believe that a brine with a concentration vastly greater than the State Health department regards as potable is being “stolen”, or is subject to the 1968 SWRCB Policy, which specifically refers to potable water, something that the brines in the 180 and 400 foot aquifers are definitely not! From my perspective, only a certified nutcase would refer to the removal of dissolved salts from contaminated brines, and reducing the salinity of a salt contaminated groundwater to the point where it can be used to grow crops again, as “wasting” groundwater.

          As for monitoring salinity, most water scientists prefer to measure conductivity, something that can be done continuously at very low cost. Since conductivity correlates closely to salinity, the results are “good enough for government work”.

          The major question, however, is how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act changes the picture. As James Wheaton, Legal Director for the Environmental Law Foundation stated,
          “The legal landscape is changing rapidly as California moves out of a 19th-century framework into one appropriate for the 21st century, in which we measure, monitor, and regulate groundwater”.

          • Stephen Collins April 13, 2015, 8:29 pm

            Marc, respond to this gentleman if you deem it appropriate, but in my opinion it is a complete waste of your time and talents.

          • Marc Del Piero April 14, 2015, 11:34 am

            The groundwater beneath the Ag Land Trust’s property was designated as a “potable water resource” (fit for human consumption) by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in their 2012 Basin Plan. That Plan is mandated by state statute to identify all potable water resources subject to state protection within their regional jurisdiction. IT WAS ADOPTED PURSUANT TO MULTIPLE PUBLIC HEARINGS AND THE CONCURRENCE OF ALL AFFECTED STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES, including the CA. Dept. of Public Health. The groundwater beneath the Ag Land Trust property is not brine.
            Further, Cal-Am’s proposal, and Coastal Commission staff’s recommendations (referred to by Mr. Baer), directly violated the new mandates of Governor Brown’s groundwater legislation that specifically identifies (and PROHIBITS) “significant and unreasonable seawater intrusion” as an “Undesirable Result” that must be avoided in the management of potable groundwater basins, and specifically in the Salinas Valley. (See AB 1739 (Dickinson); SB1168 (Pavley); and SB 1319 (Pavley) signed by Governor Brown in October, 2014). The express legislative intent of these important pieces of legislation, in part, include “respecting overlying and other proprietary rights to groundwater” by senior rights holders like the Ag Land Trust as against parties like Cal-Am. Further, Cal-Am’s proposed “test well”, and its operation recommended by Commission staff, directly violates the new definition of “GROUNDWATER SUSTAINABILITY” as embodied in the new legislation. THE NEW LEGISLATION MANDATES THE PROTECTION OF EXISTING OVERLYING GROUNDWATER RIGHTS AND THE PROTECTION OF THOSE LANDOWNERS WHO HOLD THOSE PROPERTY RIGHTS.
            Bill, every person is entitled to his own opinions, but how many “nut cases” (The Governor, state legislators, CAL-EPA staff, members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and members of the SWRCB, et al) do you think were involved in the adoption and enactments of all of the state statutes and state administrative regulations to which I have referred that consistently mandate the protection of the property rights of senior water rights holders against “would be prescriptive takers of groundwater rights” like Cal-Am??

  • John M. Moore April 11, 2015, 8:34 am

    Thank you Royal for not giving Cal-Am and the Pine Cone the last word. That makes your site unique.
    Since 2001, the city managers, city atty., the Chamber and the employee unions in Pacific Grove have defrauded the press, the councils and the voters through false claims made in Agenda Reports and press releases. The press treated their false information as truth. Now the finance director has finally issued a half-true agenda report showing that PG is the worst off financially of all local cities. It has no reserves and $6M in deficits are predicted in the Five Year Plan. A recent study indicated that PG is the 8th worst city in Ca. re pension debt including pension bonds. It has just been notified of a new $624,000 annual additional pension contribution for its CaLPERS pension plans(It is the highest penalty in any CaLPERS pension plan in the state by a factor of 300%).

    The format of the Pine Cone Article(a format followed in the Herald, the Cedar Street Times and The Weekly) about the monitoring well typifies the type of reporting about City government that destroyed Pacific Groves financial condition. The defrauding agency always got(gets) the last word and still controls Pacific Grove. But now there is the Partisan. So there is now a place for competing ideas and evidence. Again, Royal, a wonderful public service. I recommend your site to every citizen.

  • bill leone April 11, 2015, 8:58 am

    The Pine Cone editorials seem to generate from the grave-site of the John Birch Society…
    as do most of the editorials on KSBW tv. How unbecoming of a community that votes mostly for
    progressive measures.
    Regarding the contribution of the Partisan, I offer this quote:
    “That light we see is burning in my hall.
    How far that little candle throws its beam.
    So shines a good deed in a naughty world!” William Shakespeare

  • Alan Estrada April 11, 2015, 2:40 pm

    Inspired by the previous words of The Bard, there’s this phrase i learned while in Devon, England, and it goes like this: “If you don’t see anymore light at the end of the tunnel, dig more tunnel.” In some ways, Cal Am is literally, and figuratively, like this. One may substitute the word ‘light’ with ‘water’. And they poke for water as if it were oil. Is there any way to tap the Yukon Territory and run water pipes next to the oil pipes? Cal Am is apparently a monopoly that has total ownership without proper rights. A political cartoon is forthcoming titled CAL-AM-OPOLY…

  • Michelle Hill April 11, 2015, 4:36 pm

    Thank you for great articles and informative replies helpful to those wondering what is being allowed to occur in our county. The same Pine Cone writer also wrote an article about the Corral de Tierra proposed shopping center. She needs to be informed and watch the planning department, commissioners and BOS in action; the term Kangaroo court comes to mind….
    The Pine Cone was all over the city manager ( a single resident made the difference with a petition)) yet allows a one sided article favoring Cal-Am. What happens Carmel property values (and other CA areas) if there is no water?

  • John Pearse April 11, 2015, 4:41 pm

    I know I’m slow, but can anyone explain to me why the voters in Districts 1, 2, and 3 elect supervisors who continually support projects that steal water from their districts– especially Districts 2 and 3 with large agriculture interests that are dependent on that water.

  • bill leone April 11, 2015, 5:42 pm

    Can Anyone give me one good reason why Dave Potter & not Marc Del Piero (the
    Only Republican I’ve ever voted for) was elected as Monterey County Supervisor?
    Do you think it might’ve had something to do with campaign contributions from
    large corporations & multi-billionaire developers?

    • John Pearse April 12, 2015, 8:58 am

      Yes, Del Piero was the first Republican I can recall voting for too (although as a 16-year old I supported my Democrat mother’s decision to vote for Eisenhower in 1952). I asked Del Piero why he was a Republican and he mumbled something about Johnson and the Vietnam War. But Potter was re-elected because of knee-jerk support of the Democratic Party here, which I find indefensible.

  • James Toy April 11, 2015, 5:50 pm

    Stupid question: Why can’t Cal-Am draw seawater from the ocean somewhere within Cal-Am’s service boundaries like Sand City or Seaside, instead of in disputed territory near Marina?

    Answer: Because stupid Peninsula voters turned down that idea 20 years ago.

    • Frank Emerson April 13, 2015, 7:41 pm

      James there have also been a number of desal feasibility studies, paid for by MPWMD, that found that the beaches in Sand City, Seaside and Monterey are not good sites. According to them the width and depth of the beach sand is insufficient, the granite bedrock under that section of beach is too close apparently to allow for good beach wells.

      • Stephen Collins April 13, 2015, 8:06 pm

        Frank is correct, the need for several miles of beach make the area north of Marina problematic

        • Stephen Collins April 13, 2015, 8:17 pm

          Sorry, south of Marina

  • Glenn E. Robinson April 11, 2015, 7:17 pm

    Are we surprised that the Pine Cone ends up being a mouth-piece for developers or, in this case, the hand-maiden for developers? I remember when the PC wrote a puff piece on September Ranch. When I pointed out the superficial nature of the article, along with many problems associated with September Ranch that the PC left unexamined, Paul Miller wrote a ridiculous note about giving the developer the first say at the outset of a project. Far from the beginning, the September Ranch proposal was nearing the end of its journey, approved within the year by the Supervisors. Did Miller ever acknowledge the propagandistic nature of his article, or his falsehood on the timing of the proposal? Of course not, but we have learned not to expect anything different from this local fish-wrapper.

    • Larry Gowin April 12, 2015, 11:15 am

      Fish-wrapper? Does he have smelly feet too?

  • bill leone April 12, 2015, 12:44 pm

    John, yes LBJ & the Vietnam War. Just to set the record straight: LBJ’s Republican opponent
    was none other than Senator Barry Goldwater, from the enlightened state of Arizona.
    Goldwater’s Vietnam strategy was to “…bomb the entire country of Vietnam into the Stone Age.” That legacy has been passed on to Senator (“bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”) John McCain, also from Arizona. Goldwater also opposed the Civil Rights bills of the 1960’s &, like McCain, opposed MLK’s
    birthday being declared a national holiday.
    I voted for Kennedy , but when LBJ ran against Goldwater, I voted for Dick Gregory
    (Peace & Freedom Party). Unfortunately, when Humphrey ran against Nixon, I
    voted for Shirley Chisolm (also Peace & Freedom); this was a big mistake, since
    Nixon, due to his “Southern Strategy,” won the election. Nixon’s “Southern
    Strategy” merely adopted Goldwater’s “State’s Rights” rhetoric, which was
    developed by southern segregationists (Strom Thurman & George Wallace).
    Yes, LBJ & Humphrey were bad, but Republican candidates at the time were far
    worse. After the 1980’s, the Republican Party, as a result of Reagan’s Southern
    Strategy, became -& still is- the New Confederacy.
    Nevertheless, I Still think Marc Del Piero would make a better County Supervisor than
    Dave Potter.

    • Dan Turner April 12, 2015, 4:37 pm

      This has nothing to do w/Steve’s essay but you can think of the Republican party, since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as the Party of White Refuge.

    • Helga Fellay April 13, 2015, 7:43 pm

      bill leone, I also voted for Dick Gregory. Too strange – but alas, I did not vote for Shirley Chisolm. My memory is bad – was that the year John Anderson ran as an independent? I voted for him. I guess we are not weird twins after all. I bet you are sighing a sigh of relief.
      And yes, Marc Del Piero would make a better County Supervisor than Dave Potter. Much better.

  • Margaret Davis April 12, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Don’t know what it has to do with Cal Am, but I think you do ol’ Au-H20 an injustice. According to an article by Gary Donaldson, although Goldwater had supported all previous federal civil rights legislation and had supported the original senate version of the bill, he made the decision to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His stance was based on his view that the act was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and that the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do or not do business with whomever they chose. This unpopular conviction contributed to his landslide loss for president. The “stone age” quote was by Gen Curtis LeMay, USAF chief of staff, by the way, not Goldwater.

    A little surfing shows that Republicans supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965 much more strongly than the Democrats.
    Senate: 77–19
    * Democrats: 47–17 (73%-27%) * Republicans: 30–2 (94%-6%)
    House: 333–85
    * Democrats: 221–61 (78%-22%) * Republicans: 112–24 (82%-18%)

    Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL), co-author of the 1965 VRA, helped outmaneuver Democrat opposition: “There has to be a real remedy. There has to be something durable and worthwhile. This cannot go on forever, this denial of the right to vote by ruses and devices and tests and whatever the mind can contrive to either make it very difficult or to make it impossible to vote.”

    Back to the ruinous policies of Cal Am, whose disproportionate visibility at PG’s Good Old Days this weekend felt unseemly, if not aggressive, like the meter-reader photobombing your group portrait.

  • Frank Emerson April 13, 2015, 7:32 pm

    I quote from the Partison’s biop ” He helped lead the county’s efforts to develop a desalination plant in partnership with Cal Am and was prosecuted for a conflict of interest that he maintains was encouraged and approved by top county officials”

    According the Monterey Herald’s article of May 2014….. ” Collins pleaded no contest in March to three charges against him, including single felony counts of conflict of interest for being paid by a private firm for his work on the regional desal project while he was a public official and grand theft, as well as a misdemeanor count of receiving payment for an official act. ”


    • Stephen Collins April 13, 2015, 8:26 pm

      I fully expect folks to bring up the conflict issue filed by Calcagno and the theft charge brought by Potter. As the public becomes more educated on the folly of Cal Am’s plan, apologists will lash out at the messenger as somehow attempting to discredit the messenger invalidates the message. Pathetic, Frank.

      • Frank Emerson April 14, 2015, 9:43 pm

        What solution do you propose to comply with the SWRCB CDO and the need for a new Peninsula water supply Steve?

        • Stephen Collins April 15, 2015, 7:07 am

          A spirited debate, I enjoy it. Frank, I have previously published ideas, that with collaboration, I believe would work. There are many voices in this conversation, and mine is but one, but with Royal’s permission I will write a piece on suggestions. Royal?

          • Royal Calkins April 15, 2015, 10:00 am

            I’m not sure i catch your exact drift, Steve, but I’m usually ready to side with keeping information flowing.

  • Janet Collins April 13, 2015, 8:15 pm

    It’s like this, Mr. Emerson…If a Judge told you, as he did with Collins that you could not bring your accusers namely, all of the BOS, into court to testify nor even mention their names, and even substantially limited his witness list, Collins had no other recourse but to take a no contest plea..He was actually forced to do so as he had NO chance at trial…As I am aware, he would have liked nothing better than to be able to be able to have had a full blown trial and presented his evidence to have given his side of the story instead of the lies you have been fed by the County…And that’s the truth…

    • Bill Carrothers April 14, 2015, 9:16 am

      Mr. Collins, if you truly believe that a brine with a salt concentration of approximately 25,000 ppm is truly “potable”, I invite you, Marc Del Piero, Anthony “the Godfather” Lombardo, and your lackies and supporters to consume no other liquid than this “stolen water” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper, and all breaks in between, for a month or two. At the end of this science experiment, you will all be expired, and Monterey County will be rid of a major portion of it’s worst frauds, imposters, and montebanks. As for the Supervisors, all of them voted for that worthless boondoggle, the Interlake Tunnel Project ($ 3000 an acre-foot for what will probably never materialize), so they are living in the past, as well. It is obviously time for a total revolution in the power structure of this county, and I must reluctantly agree with you that nothing short of a clean sweep can save Monterey County’s future.

      • Bill Carrothers April 14, 2015, 1:17 pm

        Mr. Del Piero, since you and I know exactly where the Ag Land Trust Property is, and we both know exactly what processes have led to the presently continuing advancement of seawater in the 180 and 400 foot aquifers that lie beneath this property, I think it will be a more worthy use of our time to actually look at reality, rather than some historical writings of a variety of “authorities” who allowed this aquifer to become number 12 out of 515 in the CASGEM list of the most endangered and mismanaged aquifers in California. It certainly wasn’t the “theft” of water by junior appropriators that led to this aquifer to get a score of 24.0 on the CASGEM list. Quite the contrary, Marc. The increasing salinity of this area was created by overpumping by the senior water rights holders, who now want to continue mining our critical water resources into oblivion, and count on people like you and Mr. Collins to try to confuse and bewitch the gullible into believing that all we have to do is sit back and wait ten more years to see if the Salinas River Project or the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project will somehow save us from our own folly. Since I am sure that you have heard this hogwash many times, I won’t bother identifying the montebanks and frauds that this rubbish came from.
        Meanwhile, at the present time, the water level in the main water supply well for Castroville is going down at the rate of ten feet per WEEK. To you Marc, and to Steve Collins, I say, it is time to end your chicanery, and stop the smoke and mirrors games. Trying to make heroes or villains out of individuals will not create a sustainable supply of about 600,000 acre feet per year that our farming and collateral industries deserve, and blame games will not improve our situation. If there is someone presently in a position of authority in MCWRA, LAFCO, the Planning Commission, or on the Board of Supervisors who has not made some bad decision in the past, then as the Gospel of John, Chapter 8 says: “Let them cast the first stone”. I say, it is time to move on.

        • Frank Emerson April 14, 2015, 10:11 pm

          It is truly laughable that Marc would describe the farmers of the lower Valley as “Innocent Parties”. When you over pump your own land dry to the point that it is no longer suitable for irrigation your not the innocent party. Anyway it is a complete fabrication, the slant wells will pump seawater, the desal project will work as designed and the technical team of hydrologists will confirm that Steve and Marc are wrong. The slant wells pump seawater, without entraining sea life, making it the preferred intake method of the State, Feds and everyone else.

          You notice they both neglect to tell anyone that almost 25% of the water used to solve the Castroville seawater intrusion is Carmel River water. That is @4000 acre feet of Carmel River water being “stolen” from the Peninsula to hide the “innocent landowners” dirty secret that they don’t have any water left, they over drafted their own wells. Yes that’s right, the CSIP plant is treating Carmel River wastewater, which is an out of basin transfer of fresh water, to irrigate crops for which they no longer had their own potable water to pump. Now Carmel needs even a drop of it back Marc says your “stealing it”.

          Only a water right lawyer like Marc would pump his own land dry and argue the law proves someone else stole it.

          • Stephen Collins April 15, 2015, 7:03 am

            Frank, have you read the 1992 agreement between multiple parties to the MRWPCA for the CSIP and SVRP? The 4,000 acre feet you allude to (if that number is precise) is effluent. Prior to the Salinas Valley paying 100% of the cost of a tertiary treatment plant, that 4,000 acre feet was secondarily treated and pumped into the ocean. The Peninsula cities, willing signatories to the agreement SOLD their rights to the effluent to the Salinas Valley, which then added an additional layer of treatment and irrigates crops with it. This was back in the day when we negotiated the purchase of someone else’s property rather than attempting to steal it. Thank you for the reference.

      • Stephen Collins April 14, 2015, 5:11 pm

        Marc, do you honestly think Bill is paying any attention to the facts, and law you cite? When was the last time Marc Del Piero, Steve Collins and Tony Lombardo, montebank’s all, were in league, and in the same sentence. I actually like Tony but montebank’s together? I am honored. By the way I had to look it up, we are snake oil salesmen. Perhaps even in cahoots, a cahooter. What august company.

      • Royal Calkins April 15, 2015, 1:01 am

        Against my better judgment, I’ll let this Carrothers insult festival stay on because I enjoyed his use of mountebank (which is more effective when spelled correctly). But I will repeat to him my sincere hope that he will attempt to enlighten us with occasional evidence, even just a hint of proof here and there, rather than persistent name-calling, no matter how much it enhances our vocabulary.

  • Stephen Collins April 15, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Sorry for being vague, Royal. Frank has asked if I have any thoughts on projects and I do, but can not elaborate in a few comments. I will write an article if you will allow me.

  • Bill Carrothers April 19, 2015, 6:39 pm

    Stephen, thank you for giving me a spelling lesson! It is only by being corrected by a more gifted writer that I my own writing improves. I also wish to apologize for misspelling your name in some of my other comments.

    As for you, Marc Del Piero, it appears to me that you and I are talking past each other, rather than to each other. Since I am sure that a true mountebank such as you can find far more rewarding employment for your exceptional and extraordinary talents, let me encourage you to make more profitable use of your time. I am not worthy of your magnificent skills for obfuscation and chicanery.