PETITION TO PROHIBIT THE PROPOSED WATER RELEASES AT LAKE NACIMIENTO
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We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens and residents who demand that the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA), be prohibited from proceeding with its stated plans to increase the rate at which it releases water from Lake
MCWRA has recently published its Draft Water Release Schedule for the balance of the year 2018 for Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio. Beginning in mid-March, 2018, MCWRA will increase the rate at which it releases water from Lake Nacimiento from the current 60 cubic feet per second (cfs) (38,776,320 gallons per day) to 295 cfs (190,650,240 gallons per day). In mid-April, the rate of release will have increased to 400 cfs (258,508,800 gallons per day.) This amount of water will continue to be released until approximately the middle of July, 2018, at which time the rate will be reduced to 180 cfs (116,328,960 gallons per day).
This wholesale taking of water is unprecedented and unacceptable. The elevation of Lake Nacimiento, as of March 2, 2018, was 752.8 mean feet above sea level (msl). This already equates to a lake capacity of only 43 percent. If MCWRA is allowed to release water in the amounts it has indicated it will, and assuming the lake does not get any “significant” rainfall in the next couple of months, the expected affect on lake levels, and consequently on lake activities and water consumption, will be devastating. For example, by Memorial Day, 2018, the lake will be at approximately 725 msl, or 20 percent capacity. There will be no gas available at the Marina, the resort will be forced to layoff personnel, and many docks and most launch ramps around the lake will be unusable.
In addition to recreation, some of the approximately 5000 residents of communities and private homes that surround Lake Nacimiento, as well as businesses, draw water directly from the lake for their own consumption. At critically low lake levels, many of these individuals will be unable to draw water from the lake and will have to rely on ground water wells. Those who will be forced to rely on ground water wells will
experience greater costs to extract and treat this water, and will experience reduced water quality.
MCWRA has a long and disgraceful history of mismanaging water resources. The agency wasted over 190,000 acre-feet of water in 2017 by allowing it to spill into the ocean. It explained this massive release by claiming it was necessary to accommodate a large storm. However, not long ago, the same agency installed the Obermayer bladders at the Lake Nacimiento spillway, at a tremendous expense, vowing that it
would allow them to eliminate the Flood Rule Curve by giving them more control during flood conditions. (With the Obermayer bladders down, MCWRA can, if necessary, release over 105,000 cfs or 67,858,560,000 gallons per day.) Yet even with the Obermeyer bladders in place, the agency still wasted all that water.
While we recognize the Salinas Valley farmers need water, and they are entitled to their fair share, we abhor the way MCWRA has mismanaged this precious resource. MCWRA is obligated to manage the water it controls for the benefit of all of the citizens of California. MCWRA’s license from the State Water Board enumerates the various uses for the water, which are “ . . . for irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, and recreational uses.” The “recreation” component is just as prominent as any of the other stated uses. There is not an allotted percentage among them — they all have equal weight. Yet it is always, and only, the recreational use of this lake that is adversely
affected by the release of water.
Please consider signing this petition. It will be presented to the California State Water Board, Monterey County Board of Supervisors, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, and the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.
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