Who are you kidding Mr. Reaugh?

February 21, 2014
Larry McGourty

Larry McGourty


I read Mr. Reaugh’s latest “advertorial” for a water district with some bemusement. How a small band of elitists and a grass root organization so out of touch that its own membership is in open rebellion can represent the majority of anything begs credulity. Mr. Reaugh’s dismissive attack on the quiet title suit, which he knows full well has nothing to do with selfish unlimited pumping, is just another example of the arrogance of his organization in their race to trample on the property rights of all the residents of the basin.

As to the question of water banking conspiracies, what is PRAAGS real position? On the one hand we have you Mr. Reaugh saying it will never happen. On the other hand we have Mr. Steve Sinton, a PRAAGS board member and adviser, speaking on behalf of PRAAGS/PWE in an open forum at the Cattleman’s Association suggesting that “surplus water” could be ‘exported’ to the Kern water bank for storage. Not only is the advisability any such action questionable, but do you not know or care that surplus water in the basin is what basin purveyors such as the City of Paso Robles depend upon to supply their citizens?

What are PRAAGS real intentions Mr. Reaugh?

Over two hundred years ago President James Madison cautioned a young American Republic “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.” The individuals who have joined POWR are not belligerent Mr. Reaugh. We are principled and vigilant in the vigorous defense of private property rights for as the great American Journalist Walter Lippman observed, “Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark.”

We are in a serious drought Mr. Reaugh. We should be talking conservation not legislation.

POWR was formed to protect all the residents that depend upon the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, in a responsible manner that will ensure the health of the basin for future generations, while protecting the rights of all overlying landowners -no matter how large or small their parcel.

Hopefully in time you will come to understand and appreciate that this includes you too Mr. Reaugh. We welcome you, PRAAGS and ProWaterEquity to join us.

Larry McGourty and his family dry farm walnuts and grapes on the west side of Paso Robles. A long time resident of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, he is a founding member of the Protect Our Water Rights group (POWR) which filed Quiet Title in November. Adjudication is the proper basin-wide management tool. Adjudication protects the basin and property owners. http://protectyourwaterrights.com.


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It seems to me as an outsider that the idea of a water district isn’t inherently bad. It is just that it needs to be set up with restrictions to 1) prevent dominance by those with financial interests which may be at odds with the majority of those affected and 2) permanently ban export of water from the basin in a way that can’t be worked around by legal technicalities and obfuscations.

If that is what PRAAGS wants, they should make the compromises needed and be sure that the smaller stakeholders in the community is given fair and ample opportunity to be involved in the design such a district. They would also be wise to remove people involved in various San Joaquin Valley water districts from the process as such people can only generate suspicion as to motivation and methods.

The only way to do that is to not give the Water District board the power to export water of any kind – groundwater AND/or state Water etc. If there is NO PIPE out of the Basin and no ability to have a Board vote to put on in I think we would be safe. This was demanded at the BOS hearings and Hill/Gibson/Mecham voted to send it to Sacramento with Katcho WITHOUT that restriction!!! This is because the County wants to exchange our real wet basin water with worthless State Water Project water that it plans to sell to Santa Barbara County, the revenue will go to Flood Control. So the County will be stealing our water for its own profit. Kern Water Bank attorney Ernest Conant is PRAAGS water attorney & advising PRAAGS on setting up their District – in my opinion a transfer/exchange/export district above the largest aquifer west of the Rockies would serve San Joaquin Valley very well – even better if they can get the farmers here in Paso to pay for the infrastructure!

This all seems like a huge conflict of interest to me and an exploitation of the PRGWB and the people of North County by outside interests, both governmental & private.

At the rate Paso approves new building, there will be no excess water to ship and “bank”. So… what water do they have their sights set on? Part of our needed supply? We watch it get shipped away for Resnick’s need for profit??? Bad deal brewing folks!

Mr. McGourty,

Drought or no drought we are not going to “conserve” our way out of this situation. As I see it we have three choices to the overdraft situation.

1. Adjudication- Your current choice, could tie up water issues in litigation for years. Case in point, Santa Maria is still in litigation after 12 years. Your chance of getting your case before a judge that has a true understanding of water issues is slim to none. It does absolutely nothing to investigate new sources of water to benefit the ground water basin.

3. Water District- If structured and used wisely, this could fund and build necessary infrastructure to convey outside sources of water. It could also secure new sources of water for the basin, and store water for future use. The water district is potentially a long term solution.

4. Stop all irrigated agriculture and development in the Paso Robles Ground water basin. This is not going to happen, landowners have property rights!

So I ask you Mr. McGourty, what is your point? How is your lawsuit going to benefit the Paso Robles ground water basin? Like it or not, we are all in this together and crops don’t grow with litigation, they grow with irrigation!

Your District does not respect water right holders – during time of shortage it is the junior water right holders that are responsible for infrastructure, not he senior water right holders!! By forcing everyone into your Distirct you are forcing them to give up their water rights!

If your “solution” respected CA water law I’m sure people wouldn’t be so up in arms.

I’m assuming you are in PRAAGS so my question to you is are you receiving bad counsel about water law or are you planning to PROFIT off this District? from what I have seen it has to be one or the other.

First of all, you know what happens when you assume…and for your information I am not associated with any group. You are apparently also assuming the exact details of the structure of a water district that has only been proposed. Secondly, it is not “my water district”. I was merely pointing out the options as I see them.

I would also like to point out that while people like you are clouding the issue, we are still running out of water. As I have said before, we are beyond the point of conservation. What is your solution?

OK DonDiego – you are defending the Distirct let me give you some facts and a video then decide if you want to support the corruption.

First off we are not “running out of water” read the County’s own December report. We are fine we just need management, that can be provided by the Court respecting rights. If there is an “emergency” and we are “running out of water” that TOO can be handled by the Court.

The sense of URGENCY everyone is feeling is the URGENCY created to make people like you support a District that you know nothing about really. The REASON why PRAAGS doesn’t want the court involved is because they cannot have an export/exchange/transfer district if rights are determined in the basin – plain and simple. I am absolutely NOT clouding the issue I am trying to get through to a bunch of people who are clueless about what is REALLY going on – it is VERY frustrating.

Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmjairyRoX8

Notice Mr. WIlliam Phillimore’s comments he is with Paramount – owned by Resnick. The “Water Markets” is a HUGE part of their business

Justin is owned by Resnick and is a member of PRAAGS

Kern Water Bank – is majority held by Resnick. KWB attorney Mr. Ernest Conant is “advising” PRAAGS to set up a water district and drafted the special legislation

The type of CA water district Conant is setting up will be able to exchange our water with private corporations – read the code section.

Paavo Ogren has also stated at many meetings the County wants to “conjunctively use” our basin (code word for BANK). Paavo cannot do this UNLESS there is a DISTRCT set up that he can do it from

Did you see the SIZE of the water pipes that were put in on Creston – 16″!!! do you know why they are SOOO big???? Bringing groundwater to the surface changes the ownership – when it is underground it is ALL of ours to share – once it hits the surface it is RESNICKS!

PRAAGS told 30+ people at Pear Valley that they wanted to “exchange” our water with SemiTropic Water District in Kern.

Lastly, notice in the video how much they talk about LITIGATION involving the water transactions – WHO do you think is going to have to PAY to defend this District? Everyone inside of it. While people like Resnick profit.

We really ONLY have ONE option – Adjudication. It preserves rights/manages Basin AND prevents this scam from happening. They want people like you to believe that there is no way to save the water if adjudication goes for a long time – that is false there are immediate actions that can be taken in court. They don’t want you to know that.

You seem like an intelligent person – connect the dots. This district is going to transfer/exchange/conjunctively use our water – the “trading” will be done with State Water Project water which is WORTHLESS. It will harm everyone in North County. So, essentially we will watch our water leave the basin for PROFIT for a select few while we pay for the infrastructure and the costs to defend the District from all the environmental groups that will sue it. This is the only issue we ALL should be thinking about because once this district is set up NO ONE can stop it!

Conservation is the only real solution we have at this point.

Supplemental Water being proposed just flat out does not exist, anyone who thinks that it does is dillusional. That being said, Adjudication is the proper way of establishing water rights and determining who is responsible for infrastructure costs of developing water for their own use/benefit.

Had the Wastewater Treatment Facility in Paso Robles spent the extra money, about an additional 15% of the total $47m that they are currently spending, on a Full Tertiary Re-Use Technology, as many local WWTP’s have done, and if the flow rates are accurate at approx. 5 million gallons per day, it would produce roughly 7,500AF/YR in water that the City could be using to offset their use of Basin Water.

This is a clear indication that Conservation/Re-Use of our water is what is needed. We could make a serious dent in that Cone of Depression near the City that Jerry and his buddies are so concerned about with Recycled Water.

Every drop of water that is Recycled is equal to one drop of water that does not need to be pulled from the basin.

Where is this magic Tea Party outside source of water that will carry California from the past increase from 20-40 million people to the future 60, 80, 100 million that your business model assumes?

Mr. McGourty is correct in saying, ” we are in a serious drought and should be talking conservation not legislation.” Let’s start with conserving the Salinas River Water to our side of the hill and place controls to stop needed water from being siphoned over the hill to SLO Angeles thence into the ocean. Congrats to those who are fighting the good fight.

Jorge, I’m not sure I understand your comment. You’re referring to Santa Margarita Lake (Salinas Reservoir). The Salinas Dam is required to release water out of the lake at the same rate it comes in, so they aren’t keeping the water behind the dam 99% of the time. The only time they are allowed to release less water than is coming into the lake is when a stream gauge north of San Miguel reaches a certain flow rate. At that point, they may retain some water behind the dam (fill the reservoir). Once the stream level in San Miguel falls below the required threshold, the Salinas Dam must release as much water as is coming into the reservoir again. If the dam wasn’t there, the water that runs off during the high flow period would just run to the ocean (near Monterey) and not soak in anyway, so in realty, the Salinas Dam has essentially little to no impact on the Paso Robles Ground Water Basin.

I emphatically agree with Mr. McGourty and his thought on this topic.

Well said. I’m not real familiar with Mr. McGourty, but I feel he hit the nail on the head and concisely represents what’s right for Paso Roblans and everyone else in the Paso Groundwater Basin. The power grab by the county, PRAGGS and Pro using political motivated legislation is not what we need and POWR is showing the way on how we can protect our water from a thirsty and greedy world both inside and outside our region.