Friday March 24, 2023

Monterey Herald

Public water officials on Wednesday set a date to disclose the amount of an offer to acquire the distribution assets of California American Water Co., as well as the methodology used to arrive on a figure.

In 2018 voters approved Measure J, which directed the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to undertake a feasibility study on the public takeover of Cal Am’s distribution system. But Cal Am has pushed back saying the district’s methodology to arrive at the appraisal is flawed and that the true value of the assets is far greater than what the district would offer.

The district won’t release the amount until April 3 when it will disclose both the amount and methodology at a public meeting slated for 5:30 p.m. in the Monterey City Council chambers. It’s all but certain the district will file an eminent domain case to acquire Cal Am in Monterey County Superior Court. It would likely take a year or more for the court to render a ruling.

“A more useful exercise for the district would be to reconsider the feasibility of their attempt after five years of high costs and no results,” said Josh Stratton, a Cal Am spokesman, on Thursday in an issued statement. “It is time for the district to stop wasting public funds on litigation and financially infeasible projects.   It’s a distraction from the efforts to end the water supply crisis on the Peninsula while protecting the Carmel River and providing water for new housing.”

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