Cal Am is developing new water sources for Monterey by taking formerly unusable saline water and converting it to potable water for beneficial public use. Desalinating seawater from slant wells is a thoroughly-tested, reliable method without the environmental impacts associated with open-ocean intakes.

Cal-Am does not require water rights in order to pump ocean water. In 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) engaged in a ten-month deliberation process -- including public review and comment -- to resolve the question of whether Cal Am has adequate water rights to proceed with its desalination plan. They concluded that Cal Am would acquire appropriative rights to brackish inland water by pumping formerly unusable saline water and converting it to potable water. Salvaging water to put to beneficial use is supported by and furthers California water policy.

The SWRCB concluded that Cal Am could proceed without violating other users’ groundwater rights if the project does not harm other legal users in the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin. Cal Am’s 2017 environmental impact report found that even under worst-case conditions, the plan would not harm other pumpers. As an additional assurance, Cal Am will voluntarily retain an independent hydrogeologist to monitor the water quality and production of existing wells, and will replace any groundwater taken in by its wells.