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The Carmel Pine Cone

December 10, 2004

"Staff did not verify cost estimates"

Dear Editor

An ad on page 14A of your Dec. 3 edition contains incorrect information attributed to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. This ad mistakenly states that MPWMD staff estimated the cost of desalination projects proposed by California American Water Co. and the Pajaro/Sunny-Mesa Community Services District. The ad refers readers to the MPWMD's website link to a detailed staff report and attachments comparing these and other water supply alternatives. I am writing to ensure that your readers have the facts on the purpose and content of the MPWMD staff report.

MPWMD staff prepared the 14-page report and its attached matrix of data and information for review and use by the MPWMD Board of Directors at its September 29, 2004 strategic planning workshop. Cal Am, Pajaro/Sunny-Mesa and other project sponsors provided the estimated cost and other information used in the MPWMD report and matrix. MPWMD staff did not alter or independently verify the accuracy and completeness of their cost estimates.

Because these alternative water supply projects are early in their design development and require environmental impact analyses that have not been completed, the MPWMD staff reports points out that proponents' cost estimates are of a preliminary nature and could be off by 35-100% or more. It also notes that many important capital and operating cost elements such as site acquisition, right-of-way and environmental mitigation measures could be missing or were unable to be accurately estimated at the time our report was prepared.

I would encourage your readers to examine the MPWMD staff report and matrix on our website: On the home page under "Meetings" click on "Agendas" and then click on Sept. 29, 2004, Item 7.

I would also be glad to mail them a copy, if they call me at (831) 658-5650.

David A. Berger
General Manager
Monterey Peninsula Water Management District