Judge rules against US water district bid to halt test slant well

A Santa Cruz county judge has ruled against the Marina Coast Water District’s bid to halt California American Water (Cal-Am) in its continuing construction of a test desalination slant well in Marina.

The judge ruled against a water district and Ag-Land Trust case that Cal-Am’s slant well could cause problems with nearby wells and the environment. Following the ruling the water district board voted three to two in favour of its own proposal to build a desalination plant with an annual production of 33 million m³. The proposed project includes the use of solar energy.

“Our whole point all along has been that there are other alternatives far less intrusive and far less damaging. Let’s not impact other water users and other groundwater sources,” said Bill Parkin, attorney for Ag-Land Trust. The plant would be located near the sewage plant in Marina, where Marina Coast Water District has land rights.

The proposal was “the only option we have to secure our rights in the future,” according to Marina Coast Water District president Howard Gustafson said.

The water district will pursue bids on the project. Gustafson said if everything goes smoothly, it will take about 18 months before construction will begin. But board member Tom Moore said there were unanswered questions that will “make it difficult for any firm to want to bid on these request for proposals.”