The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) asked the State WaterResources Control Board (State Water Board) whether the California American WaterCompany (Cal-Am) has the legal right to extract desalination feedwater for the proposedMonterey Peninsula Water Supply Project (MPWSP). Cal-Am proposes severalapproaches that it claims would legally allow it to extract water from the Salinas ValleyGroundwater Basin (SVGB or Basin) near or beneath Monterey Bay without violatinggroundwater rights or injuring other groundwater users in the Basin. The purpose of thisreport is to examine the available technical information and outline legal considerationswhich would apply to Cal-Am’s proposed MPWSP.
There are gravity and pumped well designs proposed for the MPWSP, as well asseveral well locations. Well design and well location will need testing to providedesign/site specific information needed for complete technical and legal analysis. Theconditions in the aquifer where MPWSP feedwater would be extracted could be eitherconfined or unconfined however; there is currently not enough information to determinewhat type of conditions exist at the location of the MPWSP wells. Effects from confinedaquifer pumping would be observed over a larger area than if extraction occurred froman unconfined aquifer. Previous studies done in the one of proposed MPWSP welllocations indicate that there would be an approximate 2-mile radius zone-of-influence if groundwater was pumped from an unconfined aquifer. It is unknown what the effectswould be if water was pumped from a confined aquifer with different hydrogeologicconditions. The aquifers underlying the proposed extraction locations have been intruded withseawater since at least the 1940’s. The impairment means that there is little or nobeneficial use of the water in the intruded area. Groundwater quality at the site of the