Desalination Project Environmental Reports Released

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The long-awaited reports mark a major milestone in the project’s development

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Efforts to solve the Monterey Peninsula’s water crisis took a major step forward after the California Public Utilities Commission and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary released their joint environmental report for California American Water’s proposed seawater desalination project. The desalination is one of three major components of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

The 1,000-plus page report based on years of research was released in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, each which mandated analysis of the environmental impacts of the Water Supply Project’s desalination component. The issuance of this document marks a significant milestone in the project as the public will finally have access to a comprehensive, scientific and independent analysis of the project’s key elements.

“The public finally has a definitive report by both state and federal agencies that provides comprehensive analysis on critical issues based on scientific evidence and expert review,” California American Water President Rich Svindland said. “This is a major step forward in securing our water future. I’d like to thank the California Public Utilities Commission as well as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for their work in providing these extensive reports.”

The report includes analysis on the following topics:

  • Project effects on the surrounding environment.
  • The need for a new water supply.
  • Alternative water projects.
  • Proposed projects with the least environmental impact.

Both reports are available on the project’s website at

The National Environmental Policy Act and California Environmental Quality Act are statutes that require federal, state and local agencies to identify significant environmental impacts of certain projects and ways to mitigate or avoid those impacts prior to permitting.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was the lead federal agency under NEPA, and the California Public Utilities Commission was the lead state agency under CEQA.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is designed to meet the Monterey Peninsula’s water demands in a manner that is both sustainable and permanent. The project consists of three main components:

DESALINATION – Seawater will be drawn from the ocean through slant wells drilled near the tide line. The seawater will be filtered down through the ocean floor, then collected through slant wells and piped to a desalination treatment plant to be constructed near the Monterey One Water Regional Treatment Plant. At the plant, the seawater will be put through various treatment processes, including reverse osmosis, to remove all impurities. The salt concentrate that is removed will be blended with other treated effluent and returned to the ocean through the existing outfall from the Monterey One Water’s regional treatment plant.

AQUIFER, STORAGE, RECOVERY – Already underway as a partnership program between California American Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, ASR takes winter flows from the Carmel River and injects them into the natural underground Seaside Aquifer for use during the dry summer months. To protect wildlife, diverting water to the aquifer is only allowable under high river flow conditions. In average rain years, ASR will be able to supply 8.5 percent of our community’s water needs. The Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project will expand this program to meet its full supply potential and also allow excess desalinated water generated in wetter months to be stored in the Seaside Basin for use in drier years.

PURE WATER MONTEREY – As part of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, California American Water will purchase water from Pure Water Monterey, a highly-treated recycled water project being advanced by the Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. For more information on Pure Water Monterey, visit Also included in the project are 30 miles of pipeline to deliver water from Marina to the Monterey Peninsula, storage tanks, and pump stations.

California American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to more than 690,000 people.

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,900 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


California American Water
Catherine Stedman
Office: 831-646-3208
Mobile: 831-241-2990

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