“Cloudless, blue skies are spurring calls for action in the Pajaro Valley, where the lack of rain is adding pressure to stressed groundwater supplies.
“The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board will discuss a drought response, including a proposal for a voluntary 10 percent cut in water use, Wednesday. Watsonville Public Works and Utilities Director Steve Palmisano plans to bring the same proposal to the City Council on Jan.
“Water officials and the Monterey County counsel’s office declined a records request from The Salinas Californian asking for documentation surrounding a closed session meeting in which the county water district’s general manager reportedly was directed to begin discussions with California American Water Co. about selling water from the Salinas River to the privately held utility.”
From the Monterey County Herald, in a commentary by Peter Funt:
“‘My cat knows how to turn the faucet in the upstairs bathroom and I believe she ran the water for nine hours while I was out.’ I’ve been hearing stuff like that almost every day since renting an office in a building that houses the local water company.”
“Apparently, Monterey County Supervisors have met in closed session with the county water chief to discuss his ‘performance evaluation’ that included discussions about selling water from a controversial Salinas River water permit to privately held California American Water Co. to supply the thirsty Monterey Peninsula.”
“The yin and yang of the ocean will be on full display in the next few days, with some of the lowest tides of the year set to expose sea life at Santa Cruz County beaches.
“The King Tides also will bring some of the highest tides of the year, which can portend what rising sea levels could look like in the coming decades, according to researchers and environmental groups.”
“Simply put, 2013 was a watershed year for water agencies in Santa Cruz County.
“Often in short supply in California, water became an even greater environmental and political focal point in 2013 — the driest on record for some parts of the state — after the city of Santa Cruz drew down its reservoir to the lowest level in nearly two decades and pressed the pause button on a controversial seawater desalination facility.”
“No one seems to be screaming the dread word ‘drought’ — yet — but it’s hard to argue any other explanation.
“In Santa Cruz, a little over a quarter of inch of rain has fallen this month — and December is one of the two rainiest months of the year in this county. That quarter of an inch is about 5 percent of normal rainfall for the month.”
“Proponents of clearing brush and other obstruction from the Salinas River to help prevent costly crop flooding acknowledged Tuesday that the current plan is “problematic” and are asking water officials not to present it to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.
“The final plan, called an environmental impact report, was met with sharp criticism from both the farming and environmental communities when it was released by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency in September, prompting the agency to postpone submitting the EIR to Supervisors for
“Justin Brown, a flower-bulb grower out of Moss Landing, has watched the water quality on leased land at the Elkhorn Slough deteriorate for the past decade. The groundwater became so bad that his company was forced to terminate a lease with its landlord — the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Steve Shimek:
“It is ironic that Friday’s press conference by Senator (Anthony) Canella, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, Supervisor (Simon) Salinas, and some area farmers was held on the bank of the Salinas River at Hilltown Road (near Highway 68).
“Firefighters battling an unusual late fall wildfire in the Big Sur region of California are expected to get some help from the weather. The National Weather Service says winds are expected to be calm on Wednesday, and there’s a 20 percent chance of rain at night.
“The fire, which began around midnight Sunday, has consumed 769 acres and destroyed 22 buildings.
“A wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean. No injuries were reported. …
“A wildfire so late in the year is unusual but not surprising given that California is in the midst of the driest calendar year on record.”
“There’s a new ‘old’ tower at the Piedras Blancas Light Station north of Cambria. Like the taller, older lighthouse, the 50-foot-tall replica water tower will continue the lighthouse tradition of providing safety communications, just as the 74-foot lighthouse tower itself has helped guide mariners since 1875.