The Pine Cone's editorial of the week

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Editorial: You've read this editorial before

Published: June 10, 2011

THE MONTEREY Peninsula has a grossly inadequate water supply — a situation which does continuous harm to the local economy, prevents even minimal new housing, frustrates homeowners who need to make additions to their houses, renders it impossible for most businesses to grow, thwarts essential public projects, discourages firefighters from practicing their skills and forces owners of vacant land to leave it unused or sell it at a big loss. And those things happen in years with plentiful rainfall.

If a serious drought strikes, you’ll have to stop flushing your toilet, yards, gardens and golf courses will go unwatered, hotels rooms will have to be shuttered, restaurants will be pressured to reduce capacity and thousands will lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, the Carmel River is pumped dry for months every summer, suffocating fish, killing riparian vegetation, and leaving the riverbed looking like an off-road 4WD track.

This situation has gone on for more than 20 years and has only gotten worse. We have written about it over and over again, and we’re going to keep doing it until our local, county, regional and state officials get off their butts and do something. They created this water shortage, and they can fix it in very short order. All they have to do is decide to.

- Mayor and city councils may not be able to create new water projects on their own, but they must be unified and vociferous in their demands that something be done.

- The board of supervisors, while it mostly represents parts of the county with no water shortage, also has a duty to protect the health, safety and prosperity of the residents of the Monterey Peninsula. Because the situation is so desperate, it should be one of the board’s top priorities.

- The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is one of the sorry agencies that is directly responsible for our water mess. As an adjacent letter to the editor makes clear, some members of the water district board, including chairman Bob Brower, are trying to do something to protect their constituents. Other members, however, are still bent on choking off the Peninsula’s water supply in zealous pursuit of their unyielding and seriously misguided no-growth agenda.

- But the real fault lies with the California Legislature, which has created all the bizarre laws that resulted in a cut-off of our water, alongside the contradictory ones that mandate we have an adequate supply, which are also right there on the same books with the laws that make it impossible to have one.

While all this goes on, our water bills keep going up. Meanwhile, the media — in particular Monterey County Weekly and the Monterey County Herald — do their best to undermine any progress toward a new water supply.

Some people say global warming will result in droughts. Others maintain it will increase rainfall. If it’s the latter, we are in serious trouble, because we are barred from using most of the water that flows down the Carmel River anyway. And if it’s the former, then you might want to start thinking about moving elsewhere.

Is that what the environmentalists actually have in mind?