An Open Letter to Scott Dick

Lawrence Samuels and Scott Dick are members of a pro-desal group based in Carmel Valley called the G16 Coalition. Lawrence has circulated a “White Paper” that Scott authored calling for an over-sized desalination plant that will not only replace the water that the Carmel River can no longer provide but will also provide a sufficent amount of additional fresh water to ensure “water security”.

Below is my open letter to Scott as well as his “White Paper.”


Scott – I am disappointed in your position as outlined in the White Paper circulated by Lawrence. While you position yourself as an environmentalist on your radio program, in the area of desal, as in Monterey Downs, you have aligned yourself squarely with foes of our ecology including global warming deniers (like Lawrence).

As you know, we live in an area that has many sub-regions, like Cachagua, that are close to desert-like in terms of annual precipitation and fresh water availability. The simple fact is that the Central Coast region consumes more fresh water than is naturally available The solution that you propose – to build a desalination plant that generates significantly more water than we are using now – would set the stage for more development and concomitantly smog, traffic congestion, loss of wild space, and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to produce fresh water, desalination plants consume a very significant amount of energy – presumably the plant you want to see would be a carbon energy consumer. A byproduct of the process is of course toxic brine which will have to be disposed of – probably by carting it away in carbon burning vehicles.

Mother nature has limits and we have pushed up and well past these limits in a number of areas. The solution is not to spend vast amounts of money so that we can continue for a short time to over-consume and thereby make the underlying problems even more intracatable. The solution is to live more simply on smaller plots in closer proximity to each other.

I hope that you will take these points into serious consideration and revise your ill-conceived recommendation for an oversized desalination plant.

Hal Ginsberg
General Manager
495 Elder Avenue, Suite 8
Sand City, CA 93955
(831) 394-5792 (office)
(888) KRXA-540 (Morning Show)
(831) 869-6652 (cell)

On 06/07/2013 05:16 PM, Lawrence Samuels wrote:

Press Release
The G16 Coalition
Immediate Release: June 8, 2013
Sender: Lawrence Samuels (secretary) 831-238-5058
Contact: Scott Dick 831-238-0532

G16 Coalition Calls for Water Security for the Monterey Peninsula

The G16 Coalition, a community group that organized and won against the 2009 effort to incorporation of Carmel Valley, has come out with a white paper to support reasonable measure to provide water for the Monterey Peninsula, including some additional water for growth. Below is Scotts Dick’s paper. Scott Dick is the president of The G16 Coalition.

White Paper 1

Call for Water Security for the Monterey Peninsula

By Scott Dick

The G16 Board of Directors are all Carmel Valley residents and are concerned about the persistent and complicated water situation in our community.

As you know the California State Water Resources Board (SWRB) issued a cease and desist order (CDO) in September 2006 that prohibits California-American Water (CAW) from pumping more water from the Carmel River or from its underlying aquifer than authorized by its current operating permits. This CDO will take effect on January 1, 2017.

One of the results of SWRCB Order 95-10 and the subsequent CDO is the current competition to build and operate a desalination plant located somewhere inside or nearby the CAW footprint to replace the water from the river and water currently over-pumped from the Seaside Groundwater Basin (SGB).

There are proposals offered or under study by different proponents including CAW, the Deep Water project, the Peoples Project and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD). The intent of all of these proposals is to offer desalinated water to consumers on the Monterey Peninsula. The desalination proposals are in various stages of development and each have many advantages and disadvantages.

Moreover, there are other water projects such as aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and groundwater recharge (GWR) that are either in development or in limited stages of production. These projects have cost millions of dollars and have not yet come close to providing significant amounts of potable water for CAW customers.

The G16 does not necessarily support one project over another, but desires any desalination project to not just replace the water from the Carmel River and the SGB, but also include a reasonable additional amount projected to provide water security for residents and businesses – an approximate figure of about 12,000 acre-feet per year.

Any project or combination of projects should provide a reliable, drought-proof and secure water source for existing residents and businesses. Also the project or projects must include water for existing lots-of-record, residential home renovations and modest amounts of business expansion inside established Monterey Peninsula cities and urban designated areas.

Moreover, any desalination plant delivery pipelines must be sized to allow for future expansion of the desalination plant or other water producing projects. Future expansion must not be limited by the construction of pipelines of insufficient diameter that will preclude the future expansion of the desalination plant.

Any desalination plant needs to offer an initial minimum capacity of at least 12,000 acre feet per year to reach the water security goal, because ASR has shown to be inadequate and GWR is years and at least $70-100 million dollars away from production.

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4 Responses to An Open Letter to Scott Dick

  1. Maenad says:

    What is really disturbing is the local Democratic Central Committee backing these business proposals for short term gain, not the public good. We have them pitching for Monterey Downs, championing Dave Potter who brought this monstrosity here, and promoting Seaside Mayor redux Ralph, who is fast tracking annexation of County land into Seaside while they sit on 900 developable acres of Army land. Neither the oversized desal nor the race track proposal are good for our long term economic, social, and environmental health. We are left paying for the risk while the 1% extract profit from our pockets.
    When otherwise smart people like Scott promote stupid ideas like these, one can only wonder at the true motivations.

    • pdbird says:

      “When otherwise smart people like Scott promote stupid ideas like these, one can only wonder at the true motivations.”- Amen

  2. Shade says:

    My biggest problem with de-sal is this: While it appears do-able to purchase 10% of our water from a source that costs 10X the price, what happens after development occurs and the percentage from de-sal approaches 50%? Existing customers will be increasingly forced to underwrite the water needs of new development. Where is the fairness in this? I therefore suggest that before de-sal is considered, there must be legal provisions that require any large development (Monterey Downs) pay for their water at 100% the cost of new supplies for them.

    Long term for our state, I don’t think the water supply answer is de-sal (unless we are also willing to also build nuclear power plants to power de-sal plants). Agriculture currently uses the vast majority of our state’s water & there are ways for them to use water much more efficiently. While agriculture will complain that such methods are too labor intensive, I suggest that farmers & city dwellers work together on such issues much more than they currently do. Perhaps cities can provide water-sparing subsidies for agriculture instead of spending their funds to build an expensive, clearly unsustainable infrastructure (all while water within a 50 mile radius goes to waste).

  3. paola says:

    Here’s to the sane words of Hal and all others realizing that we’ve met our carrying capacity in more ways than one in Carmel Valley, on this peninsula and globally! Thank you.

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