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Cal Am has new plan for desal

Monterey Pennisula: Public ownership rule challenged

Jim Johnson
Monterey Herald

California American Water will challenge the county's public desalination plant ownership ordinance as part of its new Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

The company will argue that the state Public Utilities Commission's general counsel has indicated the commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the company and local law would be "preempted and of no legal validity."

On Monday, Cal Am filed an application with the CPUC for a three-pronged water supply proposal that could cost up to $395 million. The proposal includes a company-owned desal plant north of Marina, expanded aquifer storage and recovery in collaboration with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, and water purchased from the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency's groundwater replenishment project. It would also include a Cal Am delivery pipeline.

The proposal is intended to replace the failed regional desal project, which crumbled amid conflict of interest allegations, financing difficulties and legal challenges.

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