A newly released study finds a public takeover of California American Water’s local system is feasible. Voters ordered this study with the approval of a local ballot measure, Measure J, one year ago.
The report said the public takeover would result in significant reductions in water rates for consumers that are currently with Cal Am. It also estimated the total value of Cal Am at approximately $513 million.
During the run up to last year’s vote, Cal Am had estimated its worth at over $1 billion.
Water Management District General Manager Dave Stoldt says the next move is up to his board. If the board decides to go ahead, the district will make an offer to Cal Am. If Cal Am rejects the offer, the board will vote on whether to use the courts and eminent domain to force Cal Am to sell.
“And then if the judge says you do have the right to take this system, then it goes to a jury trial to establish just compensation. And it can take anywhere from two to three years to six to seven years,” Stoldt said.
The amount is likely to be somewhere between the $513 million mentioned in the report and the $1 billion Cal Am say it is worth.
Cal Am took control of the local system in the 1960s. It currently provides water service to about 41,000 homes and businesses or nearly 100,000 people in parts of Monterey County. Cal Am’s main system serves Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Sand City, Seaside, and unincorporated areas of Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley and Pebble Beach.
The Water Management District will hold a public workshop on the report next Tuesday, November 12 beginning at 6pm at the Embassy Suites in Seaside.
Cal Am is one of KAZU’s many business supporters.