California American Water Company (CalAm)

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A watershed-related issue examined by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.


California American Water Company (CalAm) is a private, Class A, water supply and distribution company for approximatley 85% the Monterey Bay Penninsula [1] [2]. It is a division of American Water, a national public utility founded in 1886 [3]


In 1965 CalAm purchased the Monterey Peninsula's water system and water rights from the California Water and Telephone Company. This purchase included both the San Clemente Dam and Los Padres Dam within The Carmel River Watershed [4].

Water Source

CalAm uses groundwater from the Carmel Alluvial Aquifer and the Seaside Aquifer using 39 wells.

CalAm Use of Carmel River Groundwater Basin: CalAm is allowed to pump 10,730 acre-feet of water from the Carmel Aquifer. Past activity indicates CalAm was over drawing water from the Carmel River causing the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to issue Order 95-10.


In order to obtain additional water sources, CalAm is involved in numerous projects around the Monterey area.


  • 1965 - California American Water Company purchases southern Monterey Bay's water delivery system and Carmel River rights from California Water and Telephone Company.
  • 1995 - State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued Order 95-10. This Oder detremined that CalAm was illegally over drafting more water out of the Carmel Rivier than the allocated 10,730 acre-feet. The SWRCB ordered CalAm to find alternative sources of water by 2015.
  • 2003 - CalAm proposes the Coastal Water Project (CWP).
  • 2009 - SWRCB issues cease and desist order to CalAm to stop pumping from the Carmel River by December 2016 [4].


  1. California American Water website
  2. Monterey District Urban Water Management and Water Shortage Contigency Plan for California American Water (2006 -2010)
  3. American Water
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Monterey Penninsula Water Management District and the Marina Coast Water District
  5. MPWSP, Project Description



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