LAST CHANCE! Tell the Coastal Commission to STOP CAL AM'S DESAL

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!

Hans Ongchua
Hans Ongchua signed this petition

We don’t need it. We can’t afford it!
The expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project is the environmentally sound and cost effective solution to the Monterey Peninsula’s water shortage.


The Coastal Commission is meeting on November 14 in Half Moon Bay to either approve or deny Cal Am’s permit to build its desal project. Signing this petition will send a letter to all 12 Commissioners and staff asking them to DENY Cal Am’s permit for its desalination project.  

No water crisis would result from denying Cal Am’s permit. See the recent Supply and Demand Report from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District.

Learn more: 
Pure Water Monterey Expansion vs. Cal Am’s Desal: Comparing the Cost and Environmental Impact

Compare the Peninsula’s Water Supply Options:


  • Provides all the water the Peninsula needs for decades (see Supply and Demand Report)
  • Provides plenty of water for growth and development
  • Costs Ratepayers $190 million over 30 years, compared to $1.2 billion for Cal Am’s Desal
  • Source water is wastewater currently released to Monterey Bay
  • Protects the Carmel River from illegal overdrafting
  • Recharges the Seaside Basin
  • Uses only 5,800 megawatt hours of energy from landfill biogas and produces 2 metric tons of CO2 annually


  • Produces far more water than needed, driving up the cost
  • Water is 3 to 4 times more expensive than Pure Water Monterey recycled water
  • Draws source water from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, not the ocean
  • No water rights to source water
  • Threatens Marina’s water supply with seawater intrusion
  • Does environmental damage to coastal dunes and habitat
  • Creates environmental justice Issues
  • Uses 38,000 megawatt hours of energy and produces 5,000 metric tons of CO2 annually

Detailed Comparison Chart - PWM Expansion vs. Cal Am Desal

Sponsored by Public Water Now


November 2, 2019

California Coastal Commission
Emailed to
Subject: Appeal No. A-3-MRA-19-0034 (California American Water)

Chair Dayna Bochco, Commissioners and Staff,

As residents of the Monterey Peninsula we urge you to deny California American Water’s Coastal Development Permit for its desalination project. The staff report correctly found that this project fails to comply with the California Coastal Act.

The Coastal Commission staff has done a thorough and excellent job in concluding that Cal Am’s desalination project must be denied. This project is not an environmentally sound or economically desirable  solution to the Monterey Peninsula’s water shortage. This project does not serve the public interest. As your staff has shown, there is now a feasible alternative in the expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project that can easily meet the Peninsula’s demand for several decades and at a fraction of the cost.

This desalination project would cost Cal Am ratepayers $1.2 billion over 30 years. The Monterey Peninsula already pays the most expensive water costs in the nation. Adding this project’s exorbitant cost to that burden is economically infeasible and unjust for all Peninsula ratepayers. It hits the Peninsula’s lower income communities the hardest creating unacceptable environmental injustice.

The PWM Expansion is far less expensive. It would cost ratepayers $190 million over 30 years, significantly reducing the cost of water to the public.  

Denial of Cal Am’s desalination project would have no negative impact on the water supply of the Monterey Peninsula. Denial would not adversely affect the public welfare, but will in fact promote the public welfare.
The September 2019 report, Supply and Demand for Water on the Monterey Peninsula, prepared by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District clearly demonstrates that the Pure Water Monterey Expansion would meet the long-term needs of the Monterey Peninsula. Water demand over the last twenty years on the Peninsula has dropped dramatically. Cal Am’s costly and oversized desalination plant is simply not needed.

The PWM Expansion is environmentally superior and has no coastal impact. It requires only 5,800 megawatt hours of energy annually and all of this energy comes from biogas from the adjacent landfill. Because of this it produces only 2 (two) metric tons of CO2 a year. This project protects the Carmel River and can meet the State Water Board’s cease and desist order to stop over pumping the river by December 2021.

As a coastal community, the impact of climate change is of grave concern. This desal project requires 38,000 megawatt hours of energy annually and would produce 5,000 metric tons of CO2 every year. Denial of this project would reduce energy consumption and the release of greenhouse gases at a time when our climate crisis demands action.

According to the staff report, the negative environmental impacts of Cal Am’s desalination project are numerous. It would adversely affect up to 35 acres of coastal dunes and sensitive habitat area, limit coastal access and deny the public the benefits of the restoration of the CEMEX sand mining site to its natural state for public access and recreation.

The project would add 8 million gallons of brine discharge daily to the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, impacting coastal water quality.

The desalination project’s slant wells draw groundwater from the overdrafted Salinas Valley Basin, not the ocean. This threatens the Basin with seawater intrusion and may contaminate Marina’s municipal water supply. Unfairly Marina bears all the risk, but receives no benefit and no water from this project.

Clearly this project is not in our community’s best interest. It benefits Cal Am shareholders, while creating environmental damage and unnecessary financial burden for the Monterey Peninsula. We urge you to deny Cal Am’s permit.