The implementation of the Stage 3 emergency by our CCSD board gave Cambrians the opportunity to step up, and did they ever. Since April, Cambrians have been using 40 percent less water than they used during the comparable period last year.
However, if the current drought continues, how much longer will Cambrians have water when they turn on the taps? What will we do if confronted by a major brush fire? If Cambria runs out of water, imagine the impact on the Cambrian economy, to tourism, to real estate values and, most importantly, to the quality of life.
The National Weather Service has downgraded prospects for a meaningful El Niño anytime soon, and as The Tribune reported Aug. 30, this could lead to a multiyear mega-drought. Thankfully, our CCSD board of directors and management team have taken action to construct a reverse-osmosis water treatment plant to provide more water should the drought continue. When completed and fully permitted, this facility promises to increase water supplies by 30 percent, which will provide all Cambria with a stable supply of clean, fresh water on which we can rely.
According to calculations submitted by CCSD board member Amanda Rice, the cost of construction and operation of the facility would increase the water bill for a household using eight units per billing period by $24.50 each month during operation. When the plant is not operating, the monthly increase would be $15.50. That’s pretty cheap insurance to make sure Cambrians will always have water should the drought continue. Of course, the increased costs would be greater for those using more than eight units and less for those using less.
The overwhelming majority of Cambrians agrees with the board’s actions and wants the project to proceed. The majority’s support was clearly demonstrated by the fact that only 20 percent of Cambrians protested the increase in water rates.
Following the unsuccessful protest campaign by the project’s opponents, a majority of the board (Jim Bahringer, Michael Thompson, Gail Robinette and Muril Clift) voted for the financing package to build the project, and that brings us to the present.
Many in the “silent majority” of Cambrians continue to be frustrated that the vocal special interest minority has for decades made it more difficult for CCSD to solve the persistent and serious water shortage. Even though the project has an emergency permit, is under construction and has financing in place, the minority has taken its opposition to the California Coastal Commission and other state and local agencies in order to defeat the project’s permanent permit.
In response to the wasteful tactics of the opposition, the majority of Cambrians are coming together for the first time in memory to voice their support for the project to the board, the Coastal Commission and other necessary state and regional agencies. We call ourselves Cambrians for Water (“C4 H2O”), and in just over two weeks we have grown to more than 200 members.
As we continue to grow, so will our ability to persuade regulators and agencies that Cambrians stand strongly behind their board on this project.
If you have not already done so, please consider joining C4 H2O by emailing your support to one of the C4 H2O founders: Greg Hunter (GVHUNTER@aol.com), Mark Kramer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Rochefort (email@example.com).