SLO County supervisors adopt urgency water ordinance
August 28, 2013
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance Tuesday that prohibits new development and the planting of crops in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin area unless proposed projects save as much water as they use.
After more than 10 hours of public comment and discussion, the supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the urgency ordinance. Due to the death of Supervisor Paul Teixeira in June, all four sitting supervisors needed to vote in favor of the ordinance in order to adopt it.
Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill said the ordinance should require new projects to have 2:1 water offset, meaning they would save twice as much water as they use. But, supervisors Frank Mecham and Debbie Arnold agreed only to a 1:1 offset.
The urgency ordinance lasts only 45 days and will not affect the areas served by the San Miguel Community Services District and the Shandon County Services Area, which manage their own water usage. Residents replacing wells that went dry are also unaffected.
Under the urgency ordinance, the county will meter and monitor new irrigation wells to track compliance with the water usage restrictions.
The supervisors also considered placing a moratorium on new agricultural ponds but chose not to do so.
Upon expiration of the ordinance, the supervisors can extend it for the course of two years.