From the Monterey County
E T T E R S
Grab for water rights
Did we all hear the wake-up call? Cal Am is suing for aquifer rights to the Seaside basin groundwater reserve under Seaside and Fort Ord that stretches from the coast to Laguna Seca.
Cal-Am claims that because it has been pumping the basin's water for five years in an "open, notorious, continuous, adverse, and hostile manner" it now holds "prescriptive rights to the water. Those rights stem from a legal doctrine that basically says a group that uses a resource for a long period of time--with or without approval--eventually gains legitimate claim to that resource. Who was it that said, "The Law is an ass?"
Ironically, the defendants include several cities that promoted Measure B, the initiative to dissolve the water district. However, the water district may be the only viable entity with a legislative mandate to challenge this suit.
Cal-Am's new aggressive approach is clearly the result of its new ownership, the German conglomerate RWE, which is seeking to privatize water holdings around the world.
The community must support the water district in opposing this egregious grab for monopoly of a public resource.