Paso Robles water rights group files amended complaint
August 6, 2014
OPINION By Protect Our Water Rights
Concerns over sweeping changes to private property rights has brought tremendous support from the rural community for the Protect Our Water Rights (POWR) Quiet Title Action. The group filed an amended complaint July 31 in Superior Court of Santa Clara County, adding over 100 members and 7,000 acres. The current group stands at 250 landowner members and 12,800 acres.
Quiet Title is not a lawsuit, it is a request to the courts to affirm the right, already afforded by California law, to reasonable and beneficial use of the water under a landowner’s property. The courts will handle the claim, which has become a litigation of rights because those who sell water have claimed a prescriptive right to the water. The courts will adjudicate the basin, which simply means, make a judgment.
Adjudication is healthy for basins because true and accurate accounting of the water in the basin will be a direct result of the litigation.
Cindy Steinbeck, a founding member of POWR, is a fifth generation family farmer and owner of Steinbeck Vineyards in Paso Robles. She states, “Our group is not seeking anything over and above affirmation of our current rights under California Law. Our rights are under assault. If we cannot use the water then our land has no value. Our rural lifestyle and our community is at risk.”
About POWR: Protect Our Water Rights (www.protectyourwaterrights.com) is a diverse group of landowners, concerned about property rights and water rights. POWR believes that standing strong to protect our rights will also serve to protect our precious groundwater. POWR formed very quickly after the urgency ordinance was passed by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. The group is made up of landowners both small and large.