Atascadero residents trying to refill lake

July 31, 2014

atascadero lake11A group of concerned residents is attempting to refill the nearly dry Atascadero Lake. [Tribune]

Friends of Atascadero Lake is proposing drilling a well at a home on the 8300 block of Portola Road and piping the water to the lake. The group plans to install a 1,100-foot pipeline that would connect the well to the lake.

The organization has not yet announced the estimated cost of the project.

Friends of Atascadero Lake has already sought and gained approval for its proposal from the Atascadero Mutual Water Company. The water company is a nonprofit utility that delivers water to customers in Atascadero.

The project backers have not yet taken their plan to the city of Atascadero. In order to break ground, they must attain city and state approval.

If approved, the project would use a fractured rock well to pump water from cracks between rocks beneath the property. It, thus, would not draw water from the declining groundwater basin, over which there is a ban on new wells, the group said.


Here we go again. Another group that thinks it is special. The rules really don’t apply to us. We will use a fracture line to sink a well, that won’t draw at all from the depleting water table. What are they smoking, or what do they think we are smoking. Also, Atascadero means “muddy water”. The lake was a mud hole over a 100 years ago and natural evolution is that it should return, but you are special and it is really for the communities best interest to protect this elitist and artificial feature.


The plight of this lake is just another symptom of poor governance within our county.

Build, build, build has become the modern cry of manifest destiny, with little regard for the charm of yesterday. It’s become a sort millennium madness with few stopping to actually smell the roses. Our public officials know this, and act accordingly.

miles archer

I applaud the fact that someone was willing to step forward with a solution instead of sitting on their hands and waiting for someone from our inept government to deal with the situation.

I don’t agree with their idea…but it gives me hope to see citizens attempting to be pro-active instead of just being Doug and Wendy Whiner.

Mr. Holly

Approval from the Atascadero Mutual Water Company? What a foolish decision when the entire region is in a state of drought. Of course the water company is going to approve it. Why? The approval would create a crisis for water in Atascadero that does not exist because we are in a separate aquifer and have Nacimiento water. The crisis would justify the water company to increase our water rates with no added expense to supply us with the Nacimiento water that we are already paying for.

At one time I heard that it could cost up to $500,000 to fill the pond. This would be a continuing process due to evaporation. Probably paid for by another fee, tax asesesment district or whatever they can squeeze out of us.

Just add this to the future costs of living in Atascadero. You will have the increased school bond on your tax bill, along with the Cuesta College bond issue. Then there is the sales tax increase that is directed towards “any other vital city needs”, the city council just raised most of their fees. And finally the city is in the process of determining how much to raise you sewer fees. Oh I forgot they also just dipped into their reserves for close to $200,000 of pay and benefit increases.

Mr. Holly

I have to wonder if sucking all of this water out of the subsurface rock formation could possibly cause a sink hole? If so that may cure the tourism problem that Atascadero is facing.


If a sink hole does appear, will Gearhart and all the city officials skeletons appear???


This is so laughable to me also. Being a resident born and raised in Atown the only reason that lake is empty is the marsh that used to feed that lake has long been developed and the water that fed that marsh is now directed thru the storm drain system in place there. Our lake was beautiful until the city let money come first before preserving a town that had potential. Now it seems like a wasteland of empty businesses, startup’s that never make it past the first year, Kids have to travel to Paso or SLO for anything fun to do. I don’t see anything in the future either, Oh, hey we always have Walmart. JMO


“the only reason that lake is empty is the marsh that used to feed that lake has long been developed and the water that fed that marsh is now directed thru the storm drain ”

If this is true, then this is a very sad story. To allow a wet land to be destroyed for development (and unnecessary development at that) should be a crime. There were years when A-Town had high rollers on our city council who served nothing but developers and to hell with the damage it did to the everyday residents. In fact some of that was still going on when I moved here (16 years ago) but earlier years had been much worse. I guess the complacent public got what they deserved and the culprits got away with sticking it to the rest of us.

I suppose all that can be done now is to move forward and pay closer attention. In the mean time hopefully we can solved the problem with our lake. Do you have any other solutions for our lake apart from the one that is being proposed?



Yes, my friend, very sad. We never had any problems with that lake until they started building in the marsh. I will bet a billion that no EIR or any thought of the environment entered their minds while preparing that development. Money talks here in Atown. Now our children and their children will never know that lake like we did. We used to have so much fun there.

;( JMO


Hate to do this….My intention is not to start a rumor. Has anyone heard the theory of a storm drain being blocked further south west upstream of Morro Creek? Something about it backflowing causing headwaters to be redirected which ultimately would feed the lake during heavy rains. Since the drain was blocked/plugged/removed/fixed or whatever, we no longer get those flows? Perhaps it was due to the development or someone fixed their flooding problems.

I only state this as filling marshes with impervious areas due to development should result in extra run-off? I don’t see how building homes in the upstream watershed would decrease run-off to the lake. Hoping someone would know of another reason besides low rainfall?


You mention the marsh that fed it, just curious where was it?


Maybe the Atascadero city council should follow the lead of San Luis Obispo and create a ten year plan, an assessment district, etc. The taxpayers would be so happy to fork over their hard earned dollars as long as they get back their pretty little lake.


After reading this, and when I stopped laughing I just had to vent… there are places where water hides that is not part of the basin? Wow, so it could be used for other things like filling the lake…hmmmm, my first thought would be that if there is another source of water, not connected to the basin that, that’s currently depleted, and that has not been tapped into, why not use it for drinking water?!!! Is this group for real?


The AMWC needs to stop issuing illegal stock to developers who have lots that were never part of the Atascadero Colony, ie: lots that were never purchased or owned by E.G. Lewis / Colony Holding Corporation to begin with. The AMWC directors are supposed to represent the people, as per the deed that established our water company, it’s very clear that no water is to be moved off of the colony. Each original property deed states the shares allocated to water rights attached to the land represented in the deed (# of shares are allocated by lot size).

SIGNIFICANT shares have been issued by our Water Board to individuals who have NO water rights attached to their land deeds, because they have no legal rights in the first place.

Have a look at “some of” the lots on the Eagle Ranch where our AMWC BOD has squirted the law and found a way to issue 1000′s of shares of our water rights on lots that were never purchased or owned by the colony and had no colony water rights. Those developers with their newly allocated shares will now have considerable voting rights and it will require well over 50% of “average (lot size) land owners” to attend AMWC meetings in A-Town (to over come their voting power based on # of shares) to install new directors rather than allowing the current BOD to keep installing their crony friends.. We have all lost control of what’s occurring with our collectively owned water company and it’s been like that for many years. Talk about a smoke and mirrors show.


They first need to get all the silt out , what they should do is have the city put aside a day every week to have a skip loader on site , offer the material to the public for top soil , gotta be some great garden mix.


Love your idea about topsoil. I thought they might do that last time. Nope. Typical Gov. thinking, lets pay to load onto trucks and pay trucks to take to landfill, most likely had to pay landfill and return…………..negative.

How about offering for free. None of the costs above, no negative costs. Or how about one better, sell for about ten bucks a truck load and go positive. Or would all this be to confusing for the mind of a Gov. higher up to figure out how to budget. Oh yea that’s right they don’t budget even when they are suppose to. Never mind.


Probably not a good choice for your garden. most lake silts are very high in minerals like selenium and salts.Look around the edge of a drying lake and see what grows there. usually very little until the minerals leech out and some kind of topsoil is developed. Why not bet with what climate scientist are predicting? Plant cactus in there and make it a dessert garden.


Have you ever had cactus for dessert? It’s very chewy and prickly as well.