New Subdivisions Could Be Allowed To Make Overdraft Worse
June 1, 2003
Fernando Armenta, Chair
[Sent By Email and FAX: 831-755-5888]
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
240 Church Street
Salinas, CA 93901
RE: Proof of Water Supply and Water Quality
Board Meeting of June 3, 2003, Agenda Item #S-7
Dear Chairperson Armenta and Members of the Board:
LandWatch Monterey County strongly urges your Board to continue to require proof of water for new subdivisions according to current Title 19 requirements. This is policy option #1, as outlined in Attachment A to the report from the Director of Environmental Health that you are reviewing at your June 3, 2003 meeting.
We would like to highlight the following points:
the materials before your Board make absolutely clear, North Monterey
County is in a condition of critical groundwater overdraft. Every
new or increased withdrawal from the aquifer directly harms existing
to the current overdraft conditions can be found, and implemented,
but they will be difficult to accomplish, and they are certainly
not yet in place.
the current Title 19 requirements prior to the implementation
of a real solution to the current groundwater overdraft condition
would be worse than negligent. The Board well understands that
such a policy decision would be an intentional decision to promote
new development at the expense of current water users.
decision to allow new development to make the current groundwater
overdraft situation worse would be unfair to current water users,
including both residential users and farmers. In addition, such
a decision would inflict known environmental damage.
Current Title 19 standards reflect the extensive investigation
and discussion carried out by this Board several years ago. Reversing
a thoughtful and well founded decision, with no new evidence to
justify that policy reversal, will convince the residents of Monterey
County that this Board is not willing or able to make tough decisions
and stick to them. Undermining the credibility of local government
is not in the best interests of the citizens and residents of
#2 suggests that Monterey County should encourage the conversion
of North County farmlands to residential subdivisions. This is
a bad idea, both as a matter of water policy, and as a matter
of general land use policy.
a drought or water emergency, agricultural water uses can be temporarily
suspended. Thats not possible for residential uses. Option
#2, which will transform agricultural water uses into residential
water uses, is a bad idea where water policy is concerned.
residential development in the North County area, which would
be stimulated by Option #2, will have extremely negative traffic,
public service, and environmental impacts, and will put the future
health of Elkhorn Slough at risk. Option #2 is a bad idea in terms
of basic land use policy.
#3 suggests that the Board could define away the problem,
by suddenly claiming that continued groundwater overdraft is not
a significant adverse impact. Who do you think will be fooled
by that? The groundwater overdraft problem is a real problem.
It cant be defined away.
- Finally, as I am sure the Board realizes, any attempt to modify the current provisions of Title 19 will require full environmental analysis, according to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has been honest, and courageous, in recognizing the consequences of the severe groundwater overdraft condition that exists in North Monterey County. Current Title 19 requirements for subdivisions reflect that courage and honesty.
Please dont backtrack now!
Other Interested Persons