California American Water seeking approval of recycled water agreement in Monterey

California American Water filed an application Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking approval of an agreement it recently negotiated with Monterey-area public agencies, Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, for the purchase of additional advanced treated recycled water to be provided by an expansion of the Pure Water Monterey Project.

“Our customers in Monterey are largely dependent on local rainfall for their water supply,” said California American Water president Kevin Tilden. “Given the need to protect over-strained surface and groundwater supplies in the area, new sources of water are critical. The Pure Water Monterey project brings us much-needed, additional supplies during this time of drought and contributes to a more sustainable water supply portfolio in the future.”

The Pure Water Monterey Project uses advanced water recycling technology to treat wastewater to certain standards so that it may be inserted in the Seaside Groundwater Basin, mixed with other source water and, after a defined period of time, extracted and delivered to customers for potable use. The Pure Water Monterey Project currently produces up to 3,500 acre-feet of water per year for California American Water customers on the Monterey Peninsula. The expansion of this project is intended to add up to an additional 2,250 acre-feet of water per year to its output, for a total potential production capacity of 5,750 acre-feet per year.

In addition to the water purchase agreement, California American Water is also seeking approval of $81.1 million in construction costs for the company facilities, including pipelines, wells, and pump stations that are needed to deliver Pure Water Monterey’s advanced treated recycled water from the Seaside Groundwater Basin to its customers. The estimated price of water purchased from the Pure Water Monterey Project, including the expansion, is expected to be about $3,429 per acre foot of water delivered.

Water from the Pure Water Monterey Project will help reduce the Monterey Peninsula community’s long-standing over-reliance on the Carmel River, which is home to threatened species including the Central California Steelhead trout. To help ensure a permanent replacement to pumping on the river, the company also continues to pursue the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, including a proposed seawater desalination facility that relies on carbon-free energy and sub-surface intake wells, that avoid impact to marine life. Together, these projects provide a sustainable water future for the Monterey Peninsula, meeting customer demands while protecting the environment.

The California Public Utilities Commission will announce a schedule for review of the company’s application, which includes a formal hearing process and opportunities for public input.

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