Supervisors extend Paso water basin ordinance

October 9, 2013

vineyard1With the addition of newly sworn in Supervisor Caren Ray Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors extended its urgency ordinance that restricts water use in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

The board voted 4-0, with Supervisor Debbie Arnold abstaining, to extend the ordinance two years. The ordinance prohibits new development in the Paso Robles basin that uses more water than it saves.

Ray, whom Governor Jerry Brown appointed last week to fill the vacant fourth district seat, cast the deciding vote in her first day on the job. The board needed 80 percent approval to extend the ordinance.

A week ago, the board did not extend the ordinance, which was set to expire, because Arnold did not support the extension and the fourth district seat remained vacant.

Arnold said she abstained Tuesday because the ordinance did not clearly address whether or not farmers who committed to planting additional crops prior to the adoption of the ordinance may no longer do so. The issues, known as vested rights, will return to the board on November 26 for clarification.

The urgency ordinance will remain in place until August 2015.


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If you want some interesting reading, look up Stewart and Lynda Resnick. They own one of the huge vineyards and justin winery. I think they are more interested in the water rights than the vineyards. It is a scary story.

Maybe the wine industry could implement head pruning with any new planting. That would surely show that they care and are looking to participate with water conservation. There are several very successful vineyards that have head pruned vines that require little but mostly no water.

I think it’s a failure of our school system, but the reality all of the non vineyard residents in the basin are still all going to lose there water rights, and will end up paying much more than it would have cost to drill a new well, and still there will be no resolution to the problem. We have not even done the adequate research to know that there is a problem. Guess who will end up paying for it all. Yes the very small acreage owners who were worried about having to drill a well will now have to pay for a whole new bureaucracy and the adequate research that needs to be done, than any solution there might be. The county has just stolen all of your water rights. Now you will have to pay for permission to do anything pertaining to water on your property. That’s if you still own your property once this thing kills the Vineyard/Wine industry, because once that falls everything goes with it because we have nothing else, by the way this also kills any construction that would have taken place in the basin. Even more jobs lost!

Uh, FineWine, with drilling costs and pumping costs making small acreage water out of reach as a consequence of wine industry mining of groundwater (removing faster than natural and artificial recharge can replace) which equals theft of small acreage homesite available, reachable water……. I figure that your comment that a GW agency or district will TAKE their groundwater or rights thereunto is “after the fact”, isn’t it? You wine industry guys already grabbed it, and with no slowing in sight. You have brought this regrettable but necessary regulation upon yourselves.

Also, contrary to your comment, suspending further over-extraction of groundwater resources isn’t going to “kill the wine industry”, it will just acknowledge that Ayn Rand and William Mulholland weren’t correct that we can drill, consume, blast and grab all we can get, to the starvation of others.

A slight bit of regulation is, sadly, necessary in the case of severe abuse of the general good. If your industry was not so unrepentantly RAPACIOUS, I would be on my usual side of laissez faire capitalism, with you.

Wait till you see what the costs will be once the water district is in. It will pail in comparison to what the cost of a new we will be, We never had any studies to even look into what the reasons are for the drop in some wells There are others that claim they have had a rise in the water level. Your regulation is taking away a fundamental right that was given when the land was purchased without compensation! Funny liberals have no problem giving away other peoples rights.

I just can take it anymore. Typos, sure, misspelled words, fine, but for God’s sakes learn the difference between there, their, and they’re. Talk about failure of our school system.

FineWine says:”I think it’s a failure of our school system”

FineWine says: “Just as global warming issue is false”

FineWine says:”Unabated spending of schools that produce bad results”

FineWine says: “It’s just plain idiotic to go back thirtyyears and blame Reagen.”

A failure of the school system indeed, also tea party terrorists talking points.

Can’t argue with the facts can you, so you just attack! I didn’t realize this informal board was English class .LOL

Opinions are not “fact’s”.

But we can pretend if that’s what you are into.

Perhaps you should ask congress to add water subsidies to the already bloated Farm Bill. Maybe some additional Specialty Crop Block Grants and other appropriations.

When does it end? We already know that WE are paying for it all.


Each and every one of your points is nonsense. First and foremost the issue here is enough water for those who are already here. It is pointless to concern yourself with future new residents and businesses if there is not even enough water to support those that are already here. Without some rules in place those that are extra greedy or feel especially entitled will simply take far more than their fair share of the water that is available. It is true that if there is limited water there will have to be limited construction, and I am quite sure you have no better answer to this concern, i.e., new construction or vineyards without the water to support them is indefensible. By the way, the North County existed long before the Wine Industry took off. Being the most beautiful area on the 101 between LA and SF it is assured the future will be good for the North County if it is managed well. Allowing new construction and vineyards to run us out of water would not be good management. As far as there not being enough research to support the declining water levels I suggest you speak with the Paso Robles City Staff and the San Luis Obispo County Staff so they can explain to you what has been happening over the last 20 years with the water levels in the wells that they monitor.

Meanwhile, the city of Paso is heck bent on using all the ground water it can before anyone else can use it. Frank Mecham at the BOS meeting says that we have Nacimiento water, but fails to mention that when we are able to use Naci water in 2014 when the water treatment plant is online, we will still be mixing Naci water with ground water (half and half). So, a 1000 home housing development is in the approval process, and a three hotel and in town vineyard (using Atascadero sub basin well water) in the process of annexation and approval. Paso greedsters have to be stopped for the health of the Paso water basin.

E-mail Ed Gallagher and go on record as being opposed to the giant Beechwood/Olson development.

How is it that Paso residents have had mandatory water rationing for 3+ years ~and~ we’re in the middle of a historic drought…yet Paso Robles Planning Commissioners and City Councilmembers think another 1000+ houses is OK?

Building continues whenever viable from a business perspective. Water, like oil or pork bellies, is a commodity and will always be available at market price. The Beechwood/Olson developers will pay their impact fees and their future homeowners will pay the same rates as others. Everybody should get to “buy in”. The developers pay fees for the infrastructure improvements and expansion to serve the development’s needs be it water, sewer, roads, parks, a school, a new or bigger fire/police station (not salaries, which are a “rate”, not an “impact”), and in SLO, “public art” (bet they don’t got that one north of the grade). In the ag industry development is referred to as “the final harvest” and has been an assumption for many property owners for some time. This is Debbie Arnold’s position (actually Mike Brown and Andy Caldwell’s). But now some left-wing nut job with his liberal squawking about “sustainability” and “quality of life” at the expense of business interests is causing trouble. His name; Frank Meacham.

The City of Paso is a co-developer of Beechwood. The city, under Mayor Mecham, approached the land owner to put this together. The city hired the design firm and fronted taxpayer money in the form of loans for studies and other expenses. The same thing happened with Olsen and the Chandler Ranch property owners.

The development is not market driven, but driven by the city. Ever heard of this type of arrangement before?

1-9, ouch! Keep in mind that my comments are typically facetious.

It seems everybody forgets our Paso City Council Critters got us paso citizens in

partnership with future growth to pay for the plus $300 million cost of just Paso’s share of the pipeline.

The bill is coming due and our partner in the pipeline’s expense, growth, hasn’t


I have heard our current city council say we need to get this growth happening soon so we can start paying the bill.

On another note,

According to the groundwater basin survey that is often referred to states about 15% of

the groundwater is being used by the cities and about 85% is being used by agriculture.

I don’t see agriculture offering to help out with the pipeline expence.

When you also factor how much the other cities are paying for their share of the pipeline

The cities are paying their fair share and seem to be pretty good neighbor to me.

True. I have heard that Paso was planning on the water/sewer hook up fees to these houses from Beechwood, Olsen, and Chandler to help pay for the water treatment plant and the Nacimiento water.

The city gambled on the idea that these developments would be done before the bills came due. This is also the reason they have ignored the county, Caltrans, and their own outside study on traffic (all of these participants said we would have gridlock on the East side with these developments), and continued to push each project. That is why they do not care about the water shortage in the basin. They have made Nacimiento/water treatment plant monetary commitments based upon future growth.

I review not only English, but Math! The total cost of the pipeline, not just construction but everything, all the way to SLO, was $176 million.

You are mistaken

I was hopeful for a Ray of sunshine but yesterday we got a pretty face with a si senior dialogue.

Why would anyone in their right mind vote to extend a, control only you, ordinance that fixes nothing and starts a what is your’s is negotiable stance for property rights? Only the rural dwellers are affected while the cities near and far can continue to suck the so called basin and head waters dry.

Unless I need to join Idiots Anonymous, it looks like the cities have used their Smart People and the tears of the unfortunate to spin a promiss they can’t keep. This is very wrong and the B of S can not appropriate these private rights, that is, unless the public let’s them.

County Counsel represents the County Government staff, the public must ALWAYS hire their own counsel if they choose to challenge government process. If just one, well funded challenge, were to occur and the taxpayers were congnitive of how much of their tax dollars are being used to over-through property rights, this nonsense would stop.

See Dean Martin and Goldie Haun ” Smart People”, a complete joke yet so true.

10 to 1 dislike this reality or disagree. Gov Love is forged with employment or the do it for me mind-set, city folks.