Monterey’s water supply project receives $1 million state funding

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California Construction News staff writer

The City of Monterey has secured $1 million from the State of California for an urban diversion and water supply project within the Lake El Estero watershed.

As a first of its kind for the city, this three-year project is proposed to capture excess freshwater from the lake that may otherwise be pumped to the Monterey Bay throughout the year. The water diversion to the existing sanitary sewer system would allow excess water to be treated and recycled via Monterey One Water’s Regional Treatment Plant and assist regional water reuse efforts

The amount of water to be captured will vary based on rainfall conditions in a particular year.

Since lake waters are currently pumped to the Monterey Bay multiple times per year, the average lake level is expected to remain unchanged. The Project will benefit the region’s water supply and water quality by treating a large portion of urban runoff prior to it being discharged into the Monterey Bay, which attracts locals and visitors alike throughout the year.

Tricia Wotan, Environmental Regulations Manager for the City of Monterey explains, “This model project will benefit our community and the environment by protecting the Monterey Bay, enhancing the local water supply, and supporting the City’s value driver to protect our natural environment.”

The project concept was developed over the last decade and was originally included in the 2016 Pure Water Monterey Groundwater Replenishment Project, but it was removed in later years due to scheduling conflicts.

In 2019, it was again prioritized in the Monterey Peninsula Stormwater Resource Plan for regional implementation. The project will assist the State with its water, drought, and infrastructure priorities. Funding was secured in partnership with Monterey One Water and the help of Assemblymember Mark Stone, who introduced this and other local infrastructure projects to the State Budget Subcommittee.

The city will post updates on the project at monterey.org as its planning, design, and construction progress over the next three years.

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