KION News covers the 2017 New Frontiers Water Forum

SEASIDE, Calif. – Hundreds gathered in Seaside on Friday for the 2017 New Frontiers Water Forum.

The all day event was sold out and brought water experts, researchers and innovators from all over the World. The goal of the conference was to find new ways to conserve and manage water on the Central Coast.

The Central Coast faces challenges that other parts of California do not when it comes to sourcing water. There is no Hetch Hetchy Reservoir or Colorado River pumping water into the Central Coast, for the most part it is sourced locally.

Keynote speaker, David Sedlak, who is also a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley says “unlike much of California the Central Coast is not connected to these imported water projects that brings snow melt down from the mountains, so the central coast has to make due on the water that falls between the coastal range and the sea.”

Sedlak says even though the drought is over, it is not a matter of if there will be another drought, it’s a matter of when. He also says one of the biggest challenges is having residents live within their means.

“In a wet year there might be plenty of water but in a dry year we draw upon our ground water supply and start depleting it and we have to do a good job managing the needs of people and farming to make sure that we have enough water to get us through the drought periods.” says Sedlak.

The CEO and President of Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville says his company does all they can to conserve water, “We value water. It’s a precious resource. We actually use recycled water for much of our irrigation in the Castroville area. We also use all drip irrigation. I mean water is a precious resource and we do everything we can to save it as much as we can. It’s an inlet and it’s a valuable thing for the whole community not just for agriculture.”

John Fair, who has lived in Monterey County for more than 20 years says he is concerned because water is such a huge part of life on the Central Coast, “Our economy as well as our own quality of life is built around the water here. Not only for personal use but for the economics of the areas.”

Central Coast water officials say they are looking into different ways to manage water, one is desalination plants. “Twenty or thirty years ago people dismissed desalination because it was energy intensive and damaging to the environment, but over the last decade many parts of the world have build sea water desalination plants and have reduced the cost and the environmental impacts. So after the desalination plant was opened in Carlsbad, north of San Diego and Santa Barbara went forward with the plans for their desalination plant, people here in the Monterey area are taking it much more seriously as an option for our future.”

Although the desalination plant is being discussed, water management officials say they will take a closer look at recycling water and storm water collection first.
KION Copyright 2017

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