review and Consider approval of comments on scope and contents of Environmental Impact Report oN California American WAter COMPANY’S Coastal WAter Project


Meeting Date:

October 16, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:



Prepared By:

Darby Fuerst

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval: N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:  On September 29, 2006, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (District) received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Coastal Water Project (CWP) proposed by California American Water  (Cal-Am).   A copy of the NOP is attached as Exhibit 17-A.  The NOP indicates that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is preparing an EIR to evaluate the potential impacts of the CWP.  Specifically, the NOP describes the CWP, discusses possible alternative projects, and provides a summary of potential impacts to be addressed in the EIR.  More importantly, the NOP provides the public and interested public agencies the opportunity to review the proposed CWP and provide comments or concerns on the project and the scope and contents of the EIR.  Attached as Exhibit 17-B, is a draft District comment letter on the NOP.  The CPUC will also conduct public scoping meetings to describe the project and accept public comment on the scope, focus, and content of the EIR.  Comments on the NOP must be submitted by November 9, 2006, to be accepted.


Although not quantified in the NOP, it is staff’s understanding that the amount of existing and future water demand in the Monterey Peninsula area that will be served by the CWP will be discussed at the scoping meetings.  This understanding is based on discussions with the CPUC environmental consultant, ESA, and information provided to the Monterey County Water Managers at a meeting on August 24, 2006.  This information is attached as Exhibit 17-C and includes a range of existing and future water demands, supply deductions, and varying sizes for the proposed “basic” and “regional” CWP.  As part of the presentation at the October 16 Board meeting, staff will review this information and discuss how it relates to previous District estimates of existing and future water demand for customers in Cal-Am’s main water distribution system.  


RECOMMENDATION:  Review the NOP and draft District comment letter and provide direction on the final letter regarding scope and contents of the EIR for Cal-Am’s proposed CWP.


BACKGROUND:  In September 2004, Cal-Am submitted an application (A.04-09-019) to the CPUC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to build, own, and operate the CWP.  As proposed, the CWP would include a seawater desalination plant, a conveyance system, and an aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system that would produce, store, and deliver potable water to Cal-Am’s customers in the Monterey Peninsula area.  As proposed, the CWP would enable Cal-Am to comply with State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Order 95-10 and help correct the overdraft condition in the Seaside Groundwater Basin.


In July 2005, as part of the CPUC application process, Cal-Am was required to submit a Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the CWP.  The PEA identified and evaluated potential impacts to the physical environment from the construction and operation of the proposed CWP.  This PEA will be used by the CPUC to prepare an EIR for the proposed CWP, pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines.  The CPUC has retained an environmental consulting firm, ESA, to prepare the EIR for the CWP. 


In September 2006, the CEQA process began with the publication of the NOP for the CWP EIR.  Consideration of this item is consistent with the objectives developed by the District Board at its September 25, 2006 strategic planning session.  Specifically, the Board created objectives calling for (1) active District participation in the CWP environmental review process and (2) opportunities for Board feedback to the CPUC on proposed water supply targets and related project alternatives to be studied in the CWP EIR.



17-A    Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the Coastal Water Project dated September 29, 2006           

17-B    Draft District comment letter on NOP for CWP EIR dated October 10, 2006

17-C    CPUC handout provided at Monterey County Water Managers meeting dated August 24, 2006