Helping Our Peninsula's Environment
What's Wrong With Water Transfers?

(c) Copyright 2001-2004 David Dilworth

Our Monterey Peninsula has lived beyond its physical water supply since at least 1977 when the State of California imposed a water moratorium on us. 

In spite of that developers and their paid for politicians (primarily Monterey Peninsula Mayors, Monterey County Supervisors & Pacific Grove Councils) have continued to approve new subdivisions, new golf courses and monster mansions (but extremely little affordable housing) at a breathtaking rate. 

Now that the politicians are being forced to admit that even their paper water supply is used up, they (lead by the Mayors: Sandy Koffman, Dan Albert, Jerry Smith, the Pacific Grove Council and Monterey County) have employed crafty and dastardly methods to create water out of thin air. 

Water Transfers. 

Their latest scheme is called Water Transfers. It makes millions of dollars for their profiteering friends and campaign contributors including Robles del Rio Lodge, CTE Homescapes and the ubiquitous Pebble Beach Company. That doesn't hurt when it comes to election time and a politician needs cash to campaign. 

Water Transfers are based on two disproven assumptions

  • that the originating site will give up all rights to the water, and 
  • that less water will be used after a transfer than before. 
The first is required by law, the second was the intent of the Water District when they first passed the law allowing water transfers. 


Responsible Consumers of our Monterey Peninsula & Patricia Colin Smith sued the city of Pacific Grove for illegally contracting with CTE properties for water transfers. The city contract explicitly allowed CTE to retain control of the water to sell it to whoever would pay the most. Water District Rules just as explicitly prohibited control of water transfers by anyone other than a city or Monterey county.

Both sides must agree that the water was fully transferred to the city since CTE was required to, and did, file with the County recorder a fully irrevocable donation to the city. So RCMP's position is - 

1) Since CTE made a fully irrevocable donation to the city (as required by Water District Rule 79) CTE can no longer exercise any right or control over it. 

2) Once the water was wholly owned by the City, the city cannot give (or delegate) their authority over it to a private party (California Constitution Article 11, Section 11). 

3) Since the water was then wholly owned by the City, allowing a private party to sell water is a gift of public money or thing of value which is also prohibited by California Constitution Article 16, Section 6). 

The city had no substantial response - their only hope was to try to get it thrown out on procedural grounds. The city's attorneys consistently failed to file their papers on time and have exceeded page limits. They even frivolously demanded to interrogate RCMP Co-chair David Dilworth, but Judge O'Farrell refused to let them.

This public interest suit was heard 9:00, Nov 1, 2001 at the courthouse on Aguajito Rd in Monterey by Judge Susan Dauphine. She clearly demonstrated she understood the relatively complex case by asking devastating questions of the City attorney. Their side left the courtroom hanging their heads, knowing they had lost.

But then two months later in an painfully self-contradictory opinion Dauphine wrongly ruled that the water transfers, while "difficult to reconcile" with the Water District Rule prohibiting any retaining of the water or rights, was OK because there were some benefits to builders from the transfer.

This is the equivalent of saying that its OK to rob someone - but only as long as the money you steal goes to a wealthy person.

Just remember this decision by Judge Susan Dauphine that was contrary to law, and 
against the public interest,
when she has to stand for re-election in 2008.

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This Page Last Updated Sept. 7, 2004