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Questions about possible desalination plant on the Central Coast continue


MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) - For years people on the central coast have been wondering: With pacific ocean in our back yard, why is there a shortage of water? And what can be done about that? As the state grapples with another dry year on the record books, the concern about having a desalination plant on the Central Coast is only growing for some.

Chris reached out to KION writing in part:
"I've been a homeowner on the Monterey Peninsula for over 30 years now and I've been wondering for the same period of time, why don't we have desalinization to solve our water problems here on the peninsula?"

It's a difficult question to answer because there is very a small desalination plant in sand city -- it just has a very small impact.

Also, the future of the north marina desalination plant is on hold, as it has not yet received it's coastal development permit.

There's also questions from the coastal commission about the county's permit and environmental work.

"The Coastal Commission has a different standard. A standard unto it's own -- which is: no development in the coastal zone if you can demonstrate that there's a viable alternative project with less environmental harm," says David Stoldt with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District.

Stoldt explains there is a system in place that's actually cheaper for the consumer. The Pure Water Monterey Project, which we told you about here on KION, collects local river water and it's stored underground. This past year, it produced more water than expected, but now it's expanding over the next 30 months or so.

"A lot of people who believe the drought conditions may persist are al ittle worried that were going to run out of water for that bridge period… and it will be very tight," says Stoldt.

There is concern also that future needs won't be met with the pure water Monterey project -- especially until the expansion is complete.

Stoldt tells KION the California American plans to pursue the desalination plant in Marina, but that timeline is unknown.

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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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