Is a desalination plant still in Cambrias future? Will the towns ultimate water project be something else entirely? Or a blend of several options?
There will be more questions asked than answers given about a supplemental source of water for the town at a meeting Thursday, more than 10 years after Cambria Community Services District directors declared a water emergency and put a nearly complete stop to new water hookups.
The district and Army Corps of Engineers will host whats known as a scoping meeting, one of the early steps in preparing a formal environmental review.
The hosts will be in listening mode. Most comments and questions likely will come from of the public, because thats what a scoping meeting is all about, according to Bob Gresens, engineer for the district, and Josephine Axt, the corps point person on Cambrias project plans.
Such meetings are intended to give the public the opportunity to help set the scope of what the environmental studies will cover.
The district has long favored desalination as a water supply solution and even had permits to build a larger plant in the mid-1990s. But voters replaced the board majority and the project plan was shelved.
The districts focus on desalination may be changing, however, given rejections by the California Coastal Commission of studies at two locations the district had hoped to place intake infrastructure.
United Lot Owners of Cambria (UnLOC) represents lot owners who have been unable to build, including many of those on a waiting list with about 660 names. Member Deryl Robinson said his group would attend generally to try to avoid being thrown under the bus by those opposed to the project regardless of any EIR conclusions or legitimate findings.
Richard Hawley, executive director of Greenspace The Cambria Land Trust, speaking on his own behalf, said representatives of his organization would attend to voice their opinions that there are so many more cost-effective ways of getting water to this community than this grandiose desal project. We all know what they are, so I dont know why theyre stuck on this.
Meeting leaders likely will have some brief mention of alternatives being considered, according to Gresens, but there probably wont be a lot of detail given on each.
Thats because depending on how the screening occurs as they analyze the potential impacts of each alternative, some options could be set aside.
Desalination is listed first as a candidate for consideration, followed by local and imported surface water, groundwater, hard-rock drilling and seasonal reservoir storage, all of which have been investigated as alternatives in the past.
Environmental report scoping
7 p.m. Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St., Cambria. Comments are due March 24.
Comment to: Kathleen Anderson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 532711, Los Angeles CA 90053-2325 Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org, 818 776-9049, ext. 2106 or Robert C. Gresens, Cambria Community Services District, P.O. Box 65 Cambria CA 93428, email@example.com (include Cambria Water Supply Project in the subject line), 927-6223.