Warding off water wars

September 7, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: See Adjudication in Action and a groundwater supply and demand chart at the bottom of this story.


People in northern San Luis Obispo County are running out of water—some faster than others. And, unless a community effort to stabilize the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin is successful, it could mean letting a judge decide who has a right to the water inside and how much.

Senior Planner with the San Luis Obispo County Department of Planning and Building James Caruso says the health of the basin, which lies beneath 790 square miles of land from Santa Margarita to just north of the Monterey County line, is in jeopardy.

“The situation is critical,” Caruso says.

The Paso Robles Groundwater Basin is the primary water supply for northern San Luis Obispo County, providing water for 29 percent of the county’s population and an estimated 40 percent of its agriculture, according to the county’s most recent management plan.

For thousands of people, including many in rural Paso Robles, Templeton, Creston, Shandon, and Garden Farms to San Miguel, it is the only source of residential water. It’s a supply that is rapidly declining, hydrogeologists from Todd Engineers and Furgo West report.

The county says “pumping of groundwater from the basin has reached or is quickly approaching the basin’s perennial yield” of 97,700 acre-feet of water for 2011, the maximum amount deemed safe to withdraw before groundwater levels drop further.

Water consumption beyond the safe yield also means overdraft conditions, a point where the basin is no-longer sustainable, or able to naturally replenish itself. Essentially the clock is ticking.

A community volunteer effort, led by San Luis Obispo County and the City of Paso Robles, is underway to resolve the groundwater crisis.

Chairman of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Steering Committee Larry Werner says many stakeholders are left with no choice but to put their issues aside and help develop an implementable plan to successfully resolve the chronic basin conditions or face war in court.

“We have a problem here, but we can solve it because we have the force to do it,” he says.

Digging deep

More than 8,000 private and commercial wells now tap into the basin, according to the County Public Health Department, Division of Environmental Health. Growth within the last decade, particularly the wine boom, has caused groundwater levels in those wells to drop from 10 feet to more than 70 feet depending on the location, according to county charts and planners.

One homeowner, Sue Luft, has been monitoring her well’s water level since it was drilled in the El Pomar area east of Templeton in 1998. Luft says she has seen the water level drop by 87 feet in just 13 years.

“Pumping is greater than the basin can handle,” she said.

A major community effort to stabilize the basin must be made, Luft said. Or else, “It will make our property worthless.”

Dozens of rural landowners each year are forced to drill new wells due to dropping water levels, setting them back at a minimum $20,000 expense per well and as much as $200,000 for an agricultural well, according to local drilling companies.

While the new wells revived some residents’ water sources it also led them to foreclosure.

Miller Drilling Company Manager Kurt Bollinger in Templeton said several of the properties near Highway 46 and Jardine Road in Paso Robles that the company re-drilled wells for in recent years are now bank-owned. The expense of digging for more water helped put the homeowners upside down on their mortgages, Bollinger said.

The worst may be yet to come for many landowners. Any water well more than 20 to 30 years old will likely need to be re-drilled, said managers from Cal West Rain and Miller Drilling Company.

The current groundwater levels have doubled the depth needed to drill for new wells in the North County. A minimum 700-foot-well is required now, far surpassing the old 300-foot standard, they say.

In addition, the City of Paso Robles has regularly faced seasonal water supply problems when existing wells do not adequately meet peak water demands, so it has been forced to find supplemental water supply sources to service its residential and commercial water users.

Overdraft: To be or not to be

Response to inquires into whether the basin is already in overdraft varies depending on who is asked.

The basin goes into overdraft this year, according to “Scenario 1” in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Resource Capacity Study (RCS), identified by Caruso as the “most likely” situation.

Some critics, mostly from the wine industry, dispute the results because of numerous variables, estimations and gaps in available data.

The county has not declared overdraft, despite the four-year study which overall found the situation is dangerously close.

But last fall, the Board of Supervisors approved the RCS, its findings and recommendations, and established the highest measure of severity, a Level III under the county resource management system.

Then in February, the supervisors confirmed that the groundwater levels are dropping throughout the basin and that pumping has reached or is quickly approaching its “perennial yield.” They did not say the basin was in overdraft.

The basin, however, could be in overdraft long before the government makes the declaration. That’s because to county attorneys and management, overdraft is a “naughty word”—one that they cannot currently use because it would declare a start to a legal war, known as adjudication.

The county is leery because history has shown adjudication is a process that takes water decisions out of the hands of the users and in the hands of the court.

When a groundwater basin is in overdraft, water users can file legal action asking the judicial system to establish groundwater rights. If a lawsuit is brought on to adjudicate the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, the court would determine which well owners could extract water and how much.

Two San Luis Obispo County groundwater basins are already in adjudication: the Los Osos Groundwater Basin and the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin.

After 12 years, the Santa Maria adjudication is still tied up in appeals, has exceeded $11 million in total costs, and has yet to be completed.

County planner Caruso says he believes overdraft and adjudication for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin are not a matter of if, but when.

Keeping “peace”

There is essentially a treaty currently in place to prevent this costly legal war over water from starting, yet. It is called the Paso Robles Imperiled Overlying Rights Agreement (PRIOR).

Knowing the threat of adjudication loomed in the near future, municipal users and several major North County landowners entered into a 10-year agreement in August 2005.

The local government promised not to declare overdraft if the landowners agreed not to file legal action to establish a priority of their groundwater rights over the municipal users, according to the PRIOR legal contract. In exchange, the landowners agreed to cooperate with any groundwater management plan and encourage other water well owners to do so.

The PRIOR contract expires in less than three years on Jan. 1, 2014, unless it is renewed. The county says it does not plan to declare overdraft in the meantime, even if the basin is in-fact in overdraft. Caruso says it would be an end to voluntary cooperation and a start to litigation.

In the fall of last year, some county employees say they mistakenly “slipped” and used the word overdraft to describe the basin’s status in staff reports. Local media printed it, upsetting many water users and municipal suppliers and fueling further controversy.

Now public officials are more careful to avoid the word, on the record, and the stakeholders are working to build cooperation rather than controversy.

Uncertain future

County planners are working to help people understand the severity of the water crisis but their power to fix the problem is limited, they say.

The cities and county cannot legally restrict how much water a landowner pumps because it is a California constitutional property right, despite some residents who beg the county to control consumption from the majority (67 percent) consumer of the groundwater, farmers and grape growers.

In addition, there is no legal ability to stop more vineyards from being planted because of limitations in the permitting process and the fact that it would conflict with the county general plan.

Grape growers argue that they have proven to be efficient users of water, showing successful conservation efforts and many cases of sustainable farming over the last several years. But growth continues.

The City of Paso Robles, which in 2010 needed 6,326 acre-feet of water, 2,338 from the basin and 3,988 from the Salinas River, has contracted to import 4,000 acre-feet per year of Lake Nacimiento water, according to a city plan.

Once a treatment plant to process the lake water is constructed, anticipated to begin in 2015, the city projects the new water source will relieve part of the burden on the basin until demand increases.

Paso Robles plans to acquire an additional 1,400 acre-feet per year of Nacimiento water beginning in 2020, according to the Paso Robles 2010 Urban Water Management Plan.

While the city says Nacimiento water can never be a primary source rather supplemental because it is not a guaranteed supply and relies on uncertain factors, critics in the agricultural industry say they want the city to consider buying more of the 6,000 acre-feet of lake water still up for grabs and use basin water as little as possible. Many city residents oppose that plan, arguing they should not be burdened with higher water costs to support the wine industry’s water demand.

Water conservation programs have been expanded, including the formation of a steering committee—a volunteer group of stakeholders to help the development and community implementation of a management plan intended to stabilize the basin.

In August, the Paso Robles City Council delayed adoption of the new Groundwater Basin Management Plan partly due to controversy over one of the plan’s priorities to monitor groundwater levels through private wells—resistance stemming from grape growers who do not want their water consumption to become public record, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance says.

Through community outreach, government officials have been stressing the need to monitor water levels to fill gaps in their data and measure any success of basin stabilization efforts. About 175 wells are in the network and adding just 20 in strategic locations would increase the value of the information, the county said at a recent steering committee meaning. They promise confidentiality, stressing private well data would only be used for government studies and reports.

Some stakeholders are optimistic that if they achieve widespread cooperation the community can resolve the water crisis by avoiding adjudication and stabilizing the basin. But some, like Management Plan Steering Committee member Steve Sinton, say the county needs to focus more on solutions rather than monitoring the problem, water levels.

“Think of it as if we are on a ship that is sinking. Getting information on how fast we are sinking is not going to stop us from sinking,” Sinton said at the Aug. 25 steering committee meeting.

What the stakeholders can all agree on is the goal—solving the problem, committee chairman Werner says.

And while the future is unknown, one thing is for certain, Caruso says.

“Solutions to this problem will take collaboration and cooperation from all parties. Anything short of that—we will not see success.”



Adjudication in action

If the effort to stabilize the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin fails and San Luis Obispo County declares the water supply in overdraft, a lawsuit over water rights would likely follow and lead to adjudication.

Adjudication is a process in which a court determines the groundwater rights of all overliers, property owners above the groundwater basin. A judge would rule who the extractors are and how much water they can pump.

There are 22 adjudicated groundwater basins in California; 21 were undertaken in State Superior Court and one in federal court, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

The most recent case comes from San Luis Obispo County, the adjudication of the Santa Maria Valley Basin which spans from Pismo Beach south to Orcutt, and into the valley.

The case has been ongoing for 12 years and has exceeded $11 million in total expenses, according to the County of San Luis Obispo.

South County resident knew they had a water crisis on their hands when wells began to fail, pumps burnt out, and people ran out of water.

Overdraft could not be proven with certainty but the court recognized an even greater threat—pumping depressions that could pull in sea water and jeopardize the water supply.

The Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District brought on a lawsuit against the City of Santa Maria and a slew of other defendants to assert its water right over the others.

A Santa Clara County Judge issued a ruling on the case in 2005 based on an agreement between most of the stakeholders.

One defendant with water rights at stake is the Nipomo Community Services District. District director Mike Winn says adjudication has cost South County residents time and money.

“When you get sued, generally you need to countersue,” Winn said. “There are hundreds of litigants now.”

More than $3 million in adjudication expenses is being passed on to the Nipomo Community and the fight is not over, Winn said. Some farmers, unhappy with the ruling, are appealing the judgment.

Part of the solution to their groundwater crisis is to bring in additional sources of water to compensate for empty depressions in the ground which hydro-geologists expect to cause even bigger problems within the next 10-15 years.

Winn says the new water is essential for the South County because sea water has already “poisoned a number of wells.”

“When you are docking a boat you don’t wait until you get to the dock to turn off the engine,” Winn said. “The supplemental water project is a desire to get ahead of the curve.”

Some people are still not wanting to cooperate, despite the court ruling. Winn says some of them are apathetic, being that they are of retirement age, so they don’t expect the crisis to climax in their lifetime.

“We have serious water problems on the Mesa but people are going around saying there is not, so they don’t have to pay for anything,” he said.

“The problem is very very real.”



Groundwater supply and demand

The annual supply of water available in the Paso Robles Groundwater basin is 97,700 acre-feet (AFY), also referred to as the “perennial yield,” according to the Furgo 2002 and 2005 technical studies.

The Resource Capacity Study includes estimations of water demand in acre feet for several years:

[Chart courtesy of San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department]

Groundwater User





Net Agriculture















Small Community




Small Commercial





Total AFY








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Paso Robles appears to be in a situation comparable to that of Morro Bay. Despite the counter-claims of developers and their cronies in government, there is a very serious water crisis in Morro Bay, and in recent years, the City has had to really scramble to deliver water to its customers. Unfortunately, at times, some rather questionable actions have been taken. Events related to the city’s Chorro Valley wells are a good example.

The State Water Board long ago issued “decision 1633”, which forbids the City to use its Chorro Valley municipal wells when the surface flow in Chorro Creek is less than 1.4 cubic feet per second. The surface flow of the creek was designated as an indicator of the health of the aquifer, which had been negatively impacted by over-pumping.

The City of Morro Bay has, since 1997, failed to comply with the Water Board decision. The City even hired a consultant to attempt to get the Water Board order rescinded by “proving” that the use of the wells did not impact creek flow by conducting a “stream flow interference study”.

However,the consultant was caught by residents conducting the so-called study when there was no stream flow. The stream was completely dry at the time, so there was no flow to be interfered with! Residents complained to the City Council and the “study” was halted, but not before a great deal of taxpayer money and over 2 million gallons of water were wasted.

A year or so later, the same consultant tried again. This time, the stream was running, but the consultant and and the city failed to get the required permits, and were “busted” by Department of Fish and Game staff who put a stop to the second “study” attempt.

Residents in the area of City well 11A report that it is still being used in violation of the Water Board order.

Oh brother. I WENT to the public Paso Groundwater Basin meetings. This is where the (partial) truth came out. If you were there & paying attention, you found out that all the dire predictions were based on one low well & a computer projection from there into the future of ALL wells getting lower & lower ad infinitum… You also found out that they only have spotty data going back a few years, so they had to project back into the past (i.e. completely fabricate the “historical data”) in order to then turn around & project back out into the future… What nonsense. This is not science. It’s propaganda. If you were there, you also got to hear the hydrologist (who actually worked on the project) object to all their charts, graphs & dire predictions… You also got to see them use the Delphi technique on the participants to mold public opinion in the direction they wanted it to go (i.e. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling. We need more government regulation. Please create a whole new bloated government agency that will put Big Brother, real-time monitors on all our wells & tax & fine us into oblivion in order to force us off our land & into overcrowded cities & help the United Nations implement their Agenda 21 plan of completely eliminating property rights…”) But did any of this information make it out to the public? Of course not. This is the problem with writing “news” articles based on information generated by a quasi-government agency trying to justify its existence & ensure future funding, etc. Did the reporter attend any of the groundwater basin meetings & witness any of the shifty goings-on for herself? Did she listen to & interview any of the savvy farmers who attended & firmly objected to the goings on? Did she follow the money trail back to its federal source & expose the strings attached? Has she even heard of Agenda 21 & its major implementing arm: ICLEI? Does she even realize the danger we’re all in if these UN policies get implemented through the back door?

I wonder how many people are aware of the UN Agenda 21 + iclei? I wasn’t fully aware and started to do a little research. I would be interested in what others think about all this. The following offers quite a bit of info but there are many sites addressing it and I didn’t scratch the surface.


I’m not so sure that water studies and “hydrologist” provide accurate information. When the Woodlands was going thru the county process they had conflicting water studies, one indicated there was plenty of water and one indicating it would put the aquifer in overdraft. California is a desert state and if we don’t start paying attention to the clues in front of us before a crisis we will all be paying the price.

And which one was produced by which/whom? They went with the developers study…money on it…


Access to clean and affordable drinking water is a fundamental right. As such, governments have an obligation to ensure water and sanitation services for all. The primary obligation and duty of government is to facilitate the satisfaction of basic human needs and to promote public health. The production and distribution of good quality drinking water and the simultaneous, safe treatment and disposal of sewage, waste and contaminated effluents are prerequisites for productive community life. They must be provided to all and be protected, monitored and governed by accountable public authorities.

Water must be governed as a common good. As the source of life, water resources must be governed within a framework of shared responsibility. Shared responsibility involves an obligation on the part of all people and institutions, both individually and collectively, to value and protect water resources. Local authorities must lead this movement for responsible water governance. While water resources are amenable to public, community or private management, they need to be controlled, secured and governed by accountable public authorities or recognized indigenous or traditional authorities. In order to promote responsible water governance, governments must support the participation of all stakeholders as partners, with full information, in protecting watershed areas and in determining the water and environmental sanitation services that they receive.

Water must be protected as the ecological foundation of life. Commensurate with human uses, water has value in its natural state and must be protected to sustain all forms of life. Water must be utilized within the framework of ecological carrying capacities. Pollution should be prevented at its source, and polluted water should be reclaimed and reused. Conservation of water resources must be promoted. Human activities should not threaten the long-term sustainability of a natural water source.

Water must be managed as a finite economic resource. Charges for water and related services must, in aggregate, reflect the true value of water resources and consider both the current and future cost of service provision. Water should not be wasted. The waste or pollution of water must bear an economic cost. The financial responsibility for water must be both collective and individual. Prices for water and water services must be structured to permit all people to secure their basic human water needs.

Water must be preserved as a shared cultural asset. Water is part of a shared human heritage. Access to water for sacred, religious, cultural and recreational purposes should be available to all. The management of water should consider socio-cultural traditions and should contribute to the strengthening of peace and solidarity among people, communities, countries, genders and generations.

The United Nations discussion headed into ‘way’ paranoid extremist territories and has been deleted. If you have questions about moderation an Email rather than a shout out in thread would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.

The county says it does not plan to declare overdraft in the meantime, even if the basin is in-fact in overdraft.

In Atascadero, if a parcel doesn’t own water rights the AMWC will just issue illegal shares to the parcel holder and service them despite the lack of water rights, they claim that annexing the parcels entitles water rights but it doesn’t. I sure hope somebody does something about our AMWC directors mighty soon. I know that a group has been to some gov agencies about it and there is rumbling going on behind the scenes. I was told that the FBI asked question’s about the AMWC giving illegal water rights to some of Gearharts projects and now the city is lying about many of the Eagle Ranch parcels having been colony lot’s with rights to shares in the water company.

What I am reading between the lines is that the municipalities are scared of adjudication because it may found that their claim on the water is BELOW the claims of some of the ag users. Which would put them in a tremendous pickle.

So much for paying city staff and planners to analyze these projects and prepare objective CEQA reports that consider water availability before they rubber stamp EVERYTHING. Has anybody ever seen a project turned down for water considerations?

I had (key word HAD) been standing up for wineries in the past thinking that with drip systems they are at least using the water efficiently. Wellllllllllll, I was SHOCKED when talking to a wine grower in the recent past to learn that the water usage is NOT in the growing but in the producing of the wine. It takes 720 litters of water to produce a 750 ml bottle of wine. Now you think how many cases a winery will produce and we are talking some significant amounts.

So it has got me rethinking about the value of the wine industry in this county. Yes it is making us money on tourism but at what cost to us the water users and taxpers that will have to find other sources to support this industry. Now the question becames is it worth it? That my friends is the 10 million dollar question.

Oh on the litters if you are like me from the U.S. tables of mesures and not metric that 720 litters is 920 GALLONS!!

And the city of Paso gets excited about people washing down their driveways because of the water flowing down the drain? Talk about water flowning down the drain.

I think your case would be more relevant if you compared applies to apples:

The driveway carwash is performed with water that has been cleaned to drinking water standards. It is valuable not only because it is water, but also because it has been extensively treated. Contrast this with private well water that is pumped out of the ground, used for whatever winery practice, then returned to the ground.

This brings up the issue of “use.” Water, as used by wineries or car washers in not a single-use resource. The winery waste water is available for reuse after it goes through their leechfield, or settling pond, or is dumped on the ground. Other than a little evaporation, it all returns to the system. Same with the car-wash rinsate. It goes into the storm drain, and ultimately into the Salinas River where it either perks down into the water table or flows down to irrigate Monterey county fields. In neither case is the water “lost” or consumptively used.

Well by your analogy we should then have plenty of water and not be in overdraft. You know that the people who use it to consume, the waste goes to the treatment plant and the liquids (after treated) are returned to the groundwater supply. Same with the dishes they wash and the showers they take. And the car I wash goes to the Salinas so it perks down, so again by your analogy WHY are we short of water then??

I think you are short of “clean” water more than you are short of water. I suspect there is something with hydrological flows that once you pump the water up 700 feet and put it in the Salinas River, it goes to Monterey in larger portion than it goes back to the ancient water table. But I really don’t know.

Conservatively using water is always a good idea. For everyone. In my mind, it is more important to conservatively use the water that you have expensively purified.

WHY we are short of water is because there are more grape vines, Paso Roblans, Templetonians, etc.

Tourism is great and it brings in lots of money in, but just how many residents of SLO county benefit from tourism….seriously? No disillusion poll that says we’d dry up and blow away of it wasent for the wine industry, If that was the case why is Fresno or Bako still in existence?. Sure it benefits some but it screws more and the wine industry can, like everybody else become “self sustaining” utilizing “renewable resources” like everything else is being forced to do. Recycle that process water,recycle that effluent from your treatment plants. Its not the public’s problem to foot the bill either as were the ones footing the bill for our own problems and yours at times. Its high time they do their part and stop whining about how the frost ruined a crop of grapes and they need a tax payer handout to recoup losses, handouts don’t pay my mortgage or buy my gas when prices go up after a another hurricane in the gulf region do they?

Now, would anyone like to sniff a nice glass of Pinor’effluent’e 2011?

A family member who reads my posts was nice enough to point out my mathmatical error I posted in hurrying to work. I posted 920 Gallons. It should be about 190 gallons. Sorry.

Wrong Mr. Math, that would be 192 gallons. There are 3.75 liters per gallon. 720/3.75=192

REALLY??? REALLY??? Wow off by two gallons. Again did on fly and I said ABOUT 190. Thanks for the math lesson that REALLY wasn’t ABOUT needed.

Actually, you are quite correct at 190 gallons. Mr. standup rectal-pore doesn’t know any better, obviously, but there are 3.79 liters (actually 3.7854) per gallon. Don’t know where he got 3.75 but it’s blatantly wrong.

Now, about your numbers. 720 liters per 750 ml. bottle is equal to 960 gallons of water per liter of wine. Now, multiply by 3.7854 to get gallons of water used per gallons of wine produced. This number has now climber to 3,634 gal. water/gallon wine produced. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that this number is virtually impossible. Think about it. You only need 6,000 tons of grapes to make a million gallons of wine. To make a million gallons, are you saying that a winery would use 3,634,000 gallons? No way! That’s enough water to cover a chunk of ground about the size of a football field under 11 feet of water. Having been in the wine biz since the early 1970’s, I do know whereof I speak. If my numbers are wrong, someone please show me how.

OOPS…first line of 2nd paragraph should read 720 GALLONS (not liters)….thanks.

Wait a minute boys. I didn’t see his correction post when I posted. I was just correcting an obvious mistake. Plus I just rounded for simplicity. There was no attack. But since you want to play wine dude, why don’t you close your rectal pore where you are speaking from. What a dick you are wine snob.

standup, I like you but you started it. You replied to BTDT with the following opening: “Wrong Mr. Math” . That was extremely rude. In turn, you got a bunch of thumbs down and called a rectalpore, just suck it up, you deserved it ;)

Gotta admit, that was a new one and pretty funny. No doubt some of us will tuck that one away for the appropriate time.

BTW, This is one of the most informative and interesting threads I’ve ever seen here.

Thank you! And to standup, I’m not wine snob at all. I’ve produced bottles worth as little as $3.00 and as high as $75.00. It’s all still agricultural post-harvest processing…

You may not be a wine snob but i still don’t appreciate the fact that you called me an assh%%# for a comment that was directed to someone else. But you must admit, you are one of the problems to our overdrafting the groundwater to make your wine.

Not just water to put in the bottles, water to clean the equipment. Today, I as at a winery where some kid was having a ball pressing washing bins like water is free.

Say, did you enjoy the wines at the winery you visited today? I don’t think that you’d be quite so happy if the wines had microbial defects (perhaps vinegar) from improper winery sanitation. Power washing the bins prior to harvest so that they’re clean is the very first line of defense against fungal/bacterial infections coming in with the grapes. No matter how carefully they’re picked, a 4×4 macro bin that’s full is going to have some crushing of the grapes on the bottom. This “free-run” juice is some of the most valuable juice in the winery and nobody wants it contaminated. Just sayin…

Your liters to gallons equation needs a little refinement. A liter is roughly the same size as a quart, which is how I knew you were off. Using the real conversion factor for 720 liters gives us 190.2 gallons. Still a lot of water when compared to a wine bottle that holds roughly 3/4 of a quart.

Ah heck. You caught the error, I should have read the rest of the responses.

What I could find on the issue of winery water usage is that the County of Napa assumes a winery will use 6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of wine. Efficient large scale operations are aiming for less than 2 gallons per gallon of wine, but a few wineries that were studied had figures that were more than double of Napa’s estimate.

Changing the subject slightly, I was under the impression that farmers stopped growing alfalfa in the Paso area because it got too expensive to pump the water as the water table dropped.

Well..(no pun intended) lets see. I don’t recall any of our golf courses being put on rationing because they create “revenue” for the cities. Nor can I imagine any vineyards ever having to cut back for the same reason, even if they did their success in the alcoholism industry will easily make the payment. That leaves us homeowners who many are barely squeezing by to pay $30 a foot to sink a deeper well in hopes having enough water to flush the shitter once a week.

There may be another option that’s likely and that’s when our leaders take over the rights to the local aquifers which has happened in numerous locations to “monitor” the status and from no cost water produced by our own wells to liquid gold as were billed dearly for it by the county. This will naturally progress into the demise of our water supplies as the “governing body” who has taken over our water rights does nothing to improve the situation, examples are Paso’s treatment plant, south county’s problems and Los Osos sewer delima, Morro bay, Cayucos,Cambria to name a few. No new damns,lakes etc, cant drown any weeds or frogs, no new wells because of Nitrate contamination, perhaps a desalination plant and distribution system that never really gets built. This of course will come compliments of the county, Pavo and his band of thieves, local so called “professional service providers” yeah you know who you are, heck perhaps even MWH can get in on it.

Boy, I cant wait to see how this one plays out, you know something good is coming our way.

The old saying “whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over” rings true today.

Over draft and over use of a limited resource, especially by the grape growers and the poor planning and management by the county is very apparent.