Monterey County Farm Bureau

Local Water Resource Management

Monterey County Water Resources Agency – MCWRA

MCWRA manages, protects, and enhances the quantity and quality of water and provides specified flood control services for present and future generations of Monterey County.

View their website here.

Board Members, terms, and who they represent can be viewed here.

Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project

California American Water – Peninsula Water Supply Project (desalination and groundwater recharge):

Farm Bureau actively monitors this project and the on-going process; call our office for more details.  Additional details can be found here.

IRWMP - Integrated Regional Water Management Plan

This process is on-going and we will post more information as available.

New requests for project funding are now under consideration and will be made public later in 2015.

Editorial from ChicoER (4/5/2015)

Drought Rules Call for Sharing of Agriculture's Pain

When Gov. Jerry Brown issued his executive order (April 1, 2015) requiring water conservation measures, the reaction of pundits was quite predictable: Why aren’t rules being put on agriculture?

It’s a curious question that reflects the disconnect with reality we’ve commented about before when it comes to the drought. Brown’s rules were described as the “first mandatory” water-use cuts in state history, which must have had farmers shaking their heads, as they’ve been facing mandatory water cuts for years.

For instance last year when Brown said “Please cut your water use by 20 percent, if you don’t mind,” the federal Bureau of Reclamation told farmers “You aren’t getting any water.” No “please” in that mandate. No voluntary reductions. Farmers were told they weren’t getting any water. Period. It’s the same this year for those with junior water rights.

Somehow that doesn’t seem to have registered with most of the state, including urban opinion-makers who’ve been beating the drum that ag is the villain in the drought. They spout that the almond crop uses three times as much water in a year as the whole of Los Angeles. Yeah, and something upward of 50 percent of L.A.’s water use goes for landscaping and ornamental uses, as opposed to growing food.

It’s hard in our minds to equate the two, but we do live in a place where it’s understood food doesn’t come from a store and water doesn’t come from a tap. We see that there’s no water at the intake of the pipe that leads to the cities. We see that someone has to raise that food, working with soil, sunlight and water. We have a little more appreciation for water in that we see how little there is, and realize how critical it is to life.

But Brown’s rules will bite in places where that’s not understood. Places where the alchemy of water and life is rendered abstract by pipes and concrete. He orders an initiative to remove 50 million square feet of lawn in the state, and that sounds like a lot to ask of people, until you convert it to acres. It’s a bit under 1,150 acres. Ag, by contrast, fallowed 400,000 acres last year, and is expected to leave twice that much barren this year.

Anyone who thinks ag is the villain in this drama hasn’t been in farm country lately. Even up here where the water comes from, the uncharacteristic brown fields in the patchwork are a bit unnerving. What’s happening in the San Joaquin is frightening. Bare land means less food for everyone, and an economic hit where it would otherwise be produced.

In Brown’s order, it was clear he understood that. It spoke of farmers taking the brunt of the impact of the drought so far, and it was time for all Californians to share the pain. Since then it’s been clear there are plenty of other folks who don’t get it, and are perfectly willing to let farmers continue to take the hit for the rest of us.

Editorial from Monterey Herald (4/8/2015)

Rest of California Needs to Wake Up on Water Conservation

Well, at least we’re doing our part.

Not to get all self-righteous or anything, but Monterey County water users can justifiably be proud of how they’ve complied with the water crisis brought on by our severe drought. Would have thought that other water users in California have heeded warnings and cut back similarly.

But because they haven’t, the crisis is getting worse as statewide mandatory rationing will soon be established.

In figures released Tuesday by California’s Water Resources Board, the difference between the water use for the Monterey Peninsula in February — 52 gallons per day in terms of residential use — and the rest of California — the statewide average is 76.7 gallons per day for residential users — is alarming, showing that whatever message state and local water officials are putting out hasn’t gotten through. In fact, we seem to be moving in reverse.

Urban Californians cut their water use only 2.8 percent in February, compared with the baseline year of 2013. These are the worst figures released in any of the nine months the water board has been requiring larger-size city water departments and districts to report monthly water use.

You might remember that in January 2014, in the midst of another rainfall-short winter season, Gov. Jerry Brown called on Californians to voluntarily cut water consumption 20 percent. This call wasn’t answered. February’s dismal results followed just an 8 percent drop in January.

Here’s what’s even more disturbing: residential users in the heavily populated Los Angeles and San Diego areas actually increased their water use in February — by 2.3 percent. San Francisco Bay Area residents cut their use by 8 percent, but that’s something of a drop in the bucket considering water use, and waste, in Southern California.

Tuesday’s relatively brief storm did dump some snow in the Sierra Nevada, but our familiar warm and dry pattern is expected to set back in.

Last week, Brown staged a news conference in the Sierra at a spot normally under several feet of snow, but dry and dusty this year. The governor used the event to sign a law requiring state urban water users to cut water consumption by 25 percent compared to 2013 levels. The state has said that each local water agency eventually will be given a reduction order, based in large part on its per-capita water use — meaning areas such as Monterey with lower use will likely have to reduce consumption by less than 25 percent, while those with high usage likely will have higher targets. Agencies that don’t comply with the rules can be fined as much as $10,000 a day for noncompliance, which should get their attention. Local water officials will have to determine how to reach the governor’s water-saving benchmarks.

The governor has faced criticism for not cutting allotments to California farmers, although he’s accurately noted agriculture has already seen their water allotment reduced while still being called on to feed much of the nation.

Clearly, the kinds of measures taken by California American Water Co. to curtail usage — among them, tiered pricing — will have to filter to Southern California communities and in the Central Valley, where use ranges from 70 gallons per day in L.A., 78 in Sacramento — to, hold your hoses, 166 gallons in the desert areas of Southern California with significant populations, and lawns, such as the Palm Springs area.

At a minimum, communities not hitting their cutback targets need to drastically curtail outdoor watering, which comprises about 50 percent of urban use.

Amid all this, every community needs to be planning for future droughts and shortages — and Monterey County with its reliance on the soon-to-be-off-limits Carmel River for water supply is hardly an exception.