In the News

Desal EIR Gathers Criticism, Mostly From Opponents

By Wes Sims, KUSP, 6/10/13

The two agencies that want to build a desalination plant in the Santa Cruz area got an earfullMonday at a meeting to allow public comment on a draft en-vironmental impact report.

That EIR was commissioned by the City of Santa Cruz Water Department and the Soquel Creek Water District. This is the first time the public has had a chance to comment on the desalination plant that’s proposed to ease water shortages in drought years for Santa Cruz, and reverse overdrafting of groundwater in the Soquel Creek District.

Among those in favor of the desal project was Tom Manheim, who’s worried about the economic effects of a drought. “Restaurants and retailers would experience revenue losses approaching catastrophic levels,” Manheim said. “Some hotels and motels would close down permanently, the average revenue losses across all businesses would exceed thirty percent.” But most of today’s speakers opposed the desal plant … some, like longtime Santa Cruz property owner, Winifred Alexander, were quite forceful. “I think that you’re going to do what you want to do because it’s not your money,” Alexander said. “It’s the taxpayer’s money, and that you’re just going to go ahead with this expensive pink elephant anyway. But I want to let you know something. One of those sights you picked is my property. And you’re not going to get it.” The next public hearing for the draft EIR is scheduled for July 1 in Santa Cruz.

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