Citing Drought, California Town Rushes Water Plant | S

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California's drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.The new project will turn salty water to drinking water for the 6,000-resident town of Cambria - which hugs the cliffs of the central coast, 6 miles south of William Randolph Hearst's famous castle at San Simeon. It is one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken in response to Gov. Jerry Brown's drought emergency decree last year.The plant is expected to go online early this month after being finished in just six months, unusually fast in California. Projects of this sort typically take years, and often decades, of environmental reviews, public hearings and lawsuits.Dozens of other cities and towns over the years have considered desalination plants as the way out of water shortages. Critics, however, say the technology is expensive, energy intensive and produces huge amounts of brine waste that damages the environment. California has 11 other desalination plants, and another 16 proposed.Citing Brown's drought declaration, San Luis Obispo County and local Cambria officials announced the water-plant project in May and finished it by December.The project, which uses a novel mix of fresh water, estuary water and highly treated sewage wastewater, will be capable of providing about a third of the town's water demand. It makes Cambria one of the first communities in the state to recycle sewage wastewater as an eventual drinking-water source.Brown's emergency declaration significantly cut through the usual advance state scrutiny for projects, including the public hearings, said Harvey Packard, supervising engineer for the state's Central Coast Water Quality Control Board. In waving the project through, water board officials had been "clear this is exactly what the governor had in mind with the proclamation," Packard said.A California Natural Resources Agency spokesman said the emergency decree supports Cambria's action, but did not specifically direct it. The declaration directed state officials to assist communities in need of water, measures called for "under the extraordinary circumstances of the worst drought in 40 years," Richard Stapler said in an email.California has suffered under some of its driest conditions on record in recent years. Winter rains have somewhat eased the drought statewide, but experts say it's far from over.Cambria desalination plant supporters aren't apologizing for the emergency rush. Town water officials have battled for a desalination plant since the 1990s and the community has cut residential use rates by 40 percent - twice the rate Brown asked of all state residents in an emergency water-saving plan.The drought has helped kill off one-quarter of the 3,000 acres of rare Monterey pines for which Cambria is known, and short water supplies overall have impeded development and helped keep the town's population at a standstill this decade.Mark Rochefort, a retired trial lawyer in Cambria, did his part, keeping a bucket in the shower and using that water to flush toilets and water plants."Once this project is up and operating and we have a couple weather cycles ... I think people who were opposed to it will look back on it and say this hasn't been a dramatic change for Cambria," Rochefort said.Cambria water officials signed a $13 million loan for the project, and district customers will bear part of the cost through rate increases.The project for now will dump the ocean brine produced by the desalination into a man-made pond. The water district is now obtaining what's expected to be a $2.67 million insurance policy to cover any leaks, in one of the last steps required by the state before the plant goes online for customers, district spokesman Tom Gray said.Authorities have allowed the water district to obtain some permits as it goes and others after the plant is in operation.A local citizens group sued the Cambria water district in October, saying authorities improperly skipped over environmental safeguards.State Coastal Commission officials warned the water district in July that the plant raised significant policy concerns.Some opponents say they fear the new water plant will help trigger a building boom on that stretch of the coast, particularly if surrounding communities make deals to acquire some of the newly available water.Connie Gannon, a Cambria resident and fifth-generation Californian, says she opposes the plant as unnecessary for those prepared to live within the means of a semi-arid state."Whether there's an emergency or not," she said, "... it doesn't have an impact on the lives of people who are used to living in California with a limited water base."

recommended articles
Feds Spent $1M on Bottled Water in First Nation with Broken Water Plant, Chief Says
The chief of Neskantaga First Nation in northwestern Ontario says, after 20 years under a boil water advisory, he can't understand why his community has slipped down the federal government's priority list for safe drinking water.He said department officials told him that Neskantaga is number 19 on the government's priority list for spending on water plants. Previously, Moonias said the community was told it was fourth on that list."We're over 20 years already where our people haven't been able to get the water they need to drink from their taps orto bathe themselves without getting any rashes,"Mooniassaid.Boil water advisory since 1995The boil water advisory was issued for Neskantaga in 1995 because the water from the community's then two-year-old water plant often tested positive for high levels of chlorine and harmful disinfectant products.Now, some people are walking more than a kilometre each day and carryingfresh water home from the lake or from the reverse osmosis water system that is not connected to the community's water mains, Mooniassaid.The limited capacity of the reverse osmosis system means bottled water is sometimes flown in, at a hefty cost, hesaid."Our accountant estimates that at least a million dollars has been spent on bottled water," Moonias said. "Yet the government says they don't have any money."$1M for bottled water vs. $5.8M for water plantA 2013 report, funded by the federal government, set the totalcost to design and builda new water plant inNeskantaga at$5,851,200. Moonias said after Thursday's meeting he's frustrated that the government appears unprepared to act on thatreport, or offer any help at all.A spokesperson forAboriginal Affairs confirmed to CBC Newsthat department officials met with Moonias, but said shecould not meet CBC's request for information about the outcome of the meeting.Meanwhile, former Liberal leaderBob Rae wrote a letter asking theMinister of Aboriginal Affairs to fund a new water plant in Neskantaga.Rae is the negotiator for the communityand eightother First Nations in their talks with Ontario about the Ring of Fire mining development."There is no time to waste," Rae wrote in the letter dated May 27. "Lives are at risk."In response to Rae'sletter, a spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourtsaidthat since 2006 the federalgovernmenthasinvested approximately $3 billion tocomplete more than 220 major projects and funded maintenance of over 1,200 water and wastewater treatment projects.
Heart Among Suspected Organs Found in Detroit Wastewater Plant
Jim Beam Fire in Kentucky Burns Thousands of Barrels of ...
Two Faithful Servants Tending God's Garden
Region, Aecom Settle Waste Water Plant Dispute for $1.9M
Live Aquarium Plants - Floating Water Plants
Clean Water Plant Brings Hope to One Village in North India
Problems with Municipal Water System Persist, Some Salem ...
Us Steel Leaks Hexavalent Chromium into Lake Michigan Tributary
related searches
Feds Spent $1M on Bottled Water in First Nation with Broken Water Plant, Chief Says
Jim Beam Fire in Kentucky Burns Thousands of Barrels of ...
Two Faithful Servants Tending God's Garden
Live Aquarium Plants - Floating Water Plants
Problems with Municipal Water System Persist, Some Salem ...
Us Steel Leaks Hexavalent Chromium into Lake Michigan Tributary
Heart Among Suspected Organs Found in Detroit Wastewater Plant
Region, Aecom Settle Waste Water Plant Dispute for $1.9M
Clean Water Plant Brings Hope to One Village in North India

Copyright © 2020 Concises YuGa Sports | Sitemap