Water district bill hits snag
June 19, 2014
A Senate committee gave the nod to a legislative proposal by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian to create a water district to govern the Paso Robles aquifer, but attached significant provisos.
Following a dramatic shift in position by the San Luis County Board of Supervisors Wednesday on the issue of voter control, Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) said amendments will be added to the bill, AB 2453, to change the creating mechanism for a district to one-person, one-vote.
Previously, the legislation had called for creation and management to be based on acreage ownership, which opponents of the district concept feared would establish a board heavily weighted in favor of a small number of large landowners.
The move by supervisors, engineered by District Five Supervisor Debbie Arnold, throws the whole idea of a water district for the North County into disarray, and may adversely affect the bill’s lineup of supporters.
After the Senate committee action, Achadjian issued this statement: “We have been consistent with our efforts to follow the intentions of the Board of Supervisors. The management of water is a local issue that should be managed by local agencies. After receiving their letter, I am working to amend my legislation to incorporate the changes sought by the Board of Supervisors. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee passed the bill with the understanding that I would seek additional clarification in delivering the Board’s message as clearly as possible. I am having our Legislative Counsel look into the proposed amendments and they are currently being drafted.”
Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who has been an unrelenting proponent of acreage-based control of the district, was at the Senate committee hearing but did not speak.