Our Water Resources
Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) owns and operates the Nacimiento and San Antonio Dams and Reservoirs, constructed in the late 1950s and mid-1960s. Both are multi-use facilities providing flood control, water supply, groundwater recharge, recreation and other benefits. MCWRA has identified the highest priority capital and maintenance projects that are needed at these facilities. The projects have not been performed before as MCWRA has not had the financial resources to initiate them. Completion of these projects will allow MCWRA to fully operate Nacimiento and San Antonio Dams, meet federal and state regulatory compliance, and assure the safety of Monterey County residents and farming operations.
Reservoir operations provide a buffer against drought conditions to Salinas Valley water users. MCWRA has continued to make conservation releases to provide groundwater recharge, despite very limited and minimal reservoir inflows the past two years. This year, however, those release operations were curtailed two months earlier than normal, on July 28th. Without significant inflows, there will be little opportunity for release operations next year. If dry weather patterns persist, cumulative effects will impact operations well beyond the period of the drought. Specifically, depressed groundwater levels in the basin will likely persist, greater water volumes than normal will be need to be released to recharge the basin and deliver water downstream to the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project (at the diversion facility).