SALINAS, Calif.-- Salinas City Council is taking a hard look at putting water to better use, and they say water has no jurisdiction; therefore it needs to be shared and used in places like Castroville who are facing serious sea water intrusion. This puts our multi-billion dollar agricultural industry in jeopardy.
Gary Lazzerini just finished a hard days work tending to the artichokes, but even though his day has finished he has worries he takes home with him every night knowing his livelihood is threatened.
" I'm very worried because we need fresh water to farm. It's very bad for farming and people if we don't have fresh water. What are you going to eat or drink? This concerns everybody," said Lazzerini.
Castroville has been fighting seawater intrusion for years, and the salt levels are increasing. Farmers and residents are over pumping the ground water, and that's when sea water seeps in, and the drought is making it worse.
"If the water doesn't come down the salinas river then we don't get as much reclaim water and the quality of the water goes down," said Lazzerini.
Thirty-two miles down the road Gary Petersen of salinas public works sees the bigger picture, and says our ag industry can't hang in the balance.
"Water goes where it goes and we need to decide the best way to use it to benefit everyone," said Petersen.
He says between storm water, waste water, and agricultural runoff we have enough water to solve Castroville's problems and then some.
"We look at the industrial waste water ponds that at 4000 acre feet evaporate that could be put into recycling same with our storm water," said Petersen.
And with a little help from salinas and the rest of the county by putting in better infrastructure people like Lazzerini could Rest a little easier at night.