Lawsuit halts Monterey desalination test wells

A lawsuit filed in the California Superior Court by Ag Land Trust has halted work on test wells for the Regional Desalination Project, which involves a 10 MGD (37,850 m³/d) desalination plant for the Monterey region.

The Monterey County Herald reported on 28 February 2011 that the suit challenges the Monterey County’s ability to secure water rights for the project’s brackish-water feeder wells because of the potential for violating a ban on exporting water from the Salinas Valley groundwater basin. The suit names the county Water Resources Agency and Board of Supervisors as the primary defendants and asks the court to resolve the dispute.

Ag Land Trust, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve farmland and owns land north of Marina where the wells would be located, sued the Marina Coast Water District over the project last year. That suit could go to a pretrial hearing in the next three months.