“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
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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.