Replenishment Could Increase Water Supply Significantly

The proposed Groundwateer Replenishment Project (GWR Project) will apply advanced water treatment (AWT) methods to treated wastewater currently being produced at the MRWPCA Regional Treatment Plant. The resulting purified water would "percolate" (filter through) the soil naturally into the aquifer, just like rainwater or be injected directly into the aquifer. The process “recharges" (helps replenish) the aquifer while safeguarding it from seawater intrusion.

Up to 3,700 acre-feet per year would be made available by the Project.  This amount of water would provide enough for 14,800 average homes each year. The GWR Project can be on-line and delivering high quality water to the Monterey Region within 4 years — by fall 2016. This is just in time to help our community meet the State Ordered pumping restriction from the Carmel Valley Aquifer.

A Smart Choice

Using purified water compared to other new water projects is smart because purified water production is cost effective and energy efficient. Water purification allows reuse of a local, sustainable and drought-resistant resource that is too valuable to be discharged into the ocean.

The GWR Project would help reduce seawater intrusion into our aquifers and conserve drinking water for residents and businesses. The Project would also help the Monterey Peninsula relieve a portion of the adjudication mandates:

  • State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Order 95-10 directs California American Water to find an alternative source for water historically taken from the Carmel River.
  • Seaside Basin Adjudication reduces allowable pumping from the basin from 5,600 to less than 3,000 acre-feet per year by 2021.

Purified water is truly the best new water source for the 21st century. A detailed list of the benefits of groundwater replenishment is provided in the column to the right.

Groundwater Replenishment Benefits
Drought Resistance. Groundwater replenishment water is drought-proof. In times of drought, purified water will still be available because our community will continue to generate wastewater.
Local Control. The water used for groundwater replenishment exists locally, which gives our region more control over our water future.
Helps Prevent Seawater Intrusion. The Seaside Groundwater Basin is naturally connected to the ocean.  Recharging purified water into the groundwater aquifer near the coast helps create an underground barrier to protect against seawater contamination.
Protects Monterey Bay. Groundwater replenishment reduces discharge of treated wastewater into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Provides Sustainable Supply. Reusing our precious water resources locally is smart for the environment and our community.
Lowers Carbon Footprint. Groundwater replenishment has a lower carbon footprint than many other water projects.

Offers Cost-effective Solution. Groundwater replenishment provides a more cost effective alternative than importing water supplies or other options.  Additionally, because the wastewater supply is lower in salts than brackish water or ocean desalination, energy costs are less.