A New Sunrise for our Water & Aquifers

By: James Armstrong

My last article titled “Mother Nature’s Fickle Relationship With Water” brought to light some of the water issues plaguing Aquifers in Monterey County and other local areas. In the last article I spoke of the various ways in which our local aquifers were tainted by things like saltwater intrusion and excess nitrates from the surface. When it comes to water in Monterey County a grim scenario was presented. A scenario involving the possible loss of local water supplies.

However there have been several positive developments in recent weeks and months. First and foremost no one can deny that the recent influx of rain has helped to ease tensions in both Monterey County and the state as a whole. For good reason as our state is mostly out of the drought due to recent rains. In 2015 over half of the state was either in an extreme or exceptional drought. As of March 2017 none of the state is in an extreme or exceptional drought with the majority of the state being out of the drought completely. This new influx of water will no doubt aid in refilling the various aquifers suffering from saltwater intrusion and excess nitrates.

I reached out to the Monterey County Water Resource Agency for comment. I was told that the Monterey Peninsula had successfully pulled itself out of the drought. A spokesperson for the Agency informed me that the entirety of the Monterey Peninsula was now classified as being drought free. The first time in years. For the time being at least, things are looking up.

What’s more is that new initiative is springing up across California aimed at treating salt water intrusion within our local aquifers. Sand City, just north of Marina, is one of the california cities poised to establish a new salt-water desalination plant aimed at cleaning up our aquifers. These new desalination plants are catching on in water parched regions of the globe. This new desalination plant is the first full scale desalination plant in the entirety of California. It has the potential to become the herald of a new era. I had no idea that such a monumental project was taking place locally. I reached out to Sand City Hall for comment. I spoke to a woman who was a spokesperson. “The new plant is intended to provide a long term and reliable water supply for people in Sand City. The representative did not have too many details but did let me know that the water would be thoroughly treated before being served. I also learned that CalAm would be operating the plant while Sand City retains ownership.

This is significant because if desalination plants gain momentum and become viable for day-to-day use then much of the strain on the aquifers beneath us could be eased. The future holds the potential to unlock the solution to the water crisis. In our future we may see the Pacific Ocean become our prime source of water. Desalination is being lauded by many as the key. Upon hearing of the possibilities I immediately contacted a group I found online called EcoWatch. I Emailed them online through their “Contact Us” tab and indeed received a response. They were of the opinion that “Desalination may be the path forward for many nations”. Although they did caution me that “That technology may be cost and energy inhibitive.” Pointing to the fact that sufficient technology and energy-efficient means of consumption had yet to come about. For the time being this technology may be just out of reach.

For the time being at least, it appears that the water situation here in Monterey County are beginning to look up for the area’s denizens.