Nipomo CSD grants water to development despite city protests

October 24, 2014

water2The Nipomo Community Services District board gave initial approval Wednesday to a request for water service at proposed housing development on the Nipomo Mesa. [Tribune]

The CSD board voted 4-0, with board member Jim Harrison absent, to grant initial approval for water service to more than 270 new homes and hotel rooms expected to be constructed at Blacklake Golf Resort. The vote came at the same meeting in which the board received a letter from the city managers of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach requesting that the CSD stop purveying water to new developments.

Rob Rossi, who purchased the Blacklake resort in 2001, said construction on the development is expected to begin in 2016. The plan includes approximately 96 single-family bungalows, 119 hotel units, 11 timeshare units and 52 retirement village units.

The development proposal calls for offsetting the water usage of the new homes by reducing irrigated land on the resort, improving the existing irrigation system and making use of treated wastewater on the golf course.

In an Oct. 1 letter, the three South County city managers asked that the district, as well as other water purveyors on the mesa, come up with a new source of water rather than approve service to new developments. They also requested that the purveyors provide better public education programs.

Nipomo general manager Michael LeBrun responded by saying that the district has already reduced its groundwater pumping and has conducted extensive public outreach.

The CSD is also nearing completion of $17.5 million pipeline from Santa Maria, which is expect to start providing water to residents next July.



  1. falconbh says:

    We sure have a common connection of Mismanagement, Automatic Fee Increases, without financial accountability and using Ratepayers to subsidize big business.

    Nipomo CSD, Los Osos CSD , ogren csd in Oceano, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Cambria, Grover Beach , Morro Beach, Paso Robles. South County Sanitation $$$.

    Right no they can have any rate increase they want with this Voting Process- Yes Votes, No Votes, and those who Do Not Vote are counted as Yes Votes. A Rate increase has Never Been Defeated In The State ! This unfair process is rigged against all homeowners.

    A ” Time Out ” is needed from all these New Sales Tax Increases, Automatic Water Rate Increases, Double Taxation Road Surcharge, and Excessive Building Tax Increases.

    ” Can You Really Afford More New Taxes and Automatic Rate Increases ? “

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
    • JMO says:

      With all these tax and bond measures on the ballot, I have to agree with you. We all (maybe reluctantly) agree we need to pay taxes for necessary government services. How effectively our taxes are used is directly related to the management (politicians) we vote in. Almost all of these politicians want to cover their mismanagement simply by increasing taxes and not addressing the problems.

      The politicians aren’t stupid (although I might get some argument there) as they “only” ask for small increases at a time. For instance, the Cuesta bond measure “is only $20 per $100,000 assessed property value” or “The half percent sales tax is mostly paid by outsiders”. Sales tax has steadily gone up from 3% 60 years ago to over 8% now. If you bought a $30,000 car in SLO, you would pay $2,550 in sales tax (8.5%). Property tax is 1% of the sales price of your house and increases 2% a year. A $500,000 house would pay $5,000 a year. If you make $100,000 a year, that’s 5% of your gross, and more likely 10% of your NET.

      I have a small business and fully 50% of my gross goes to taxes not including property and sales tax.

      Again, we might not like it, but we know we need to pay taxes. I would just like for once that our government management learn to live within their budget. Make the hard choices (don’t fund $8 million for a Homeless Campus or automatically increase pensions from 2% to 3%) instead of covering mismanagement with “It’s only a little” tax increase. I’m not holding my breath (although there are probably several of you out there that would encourage me to do so).

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. Russ J says:

    Woodlands (or Trilogy for you newcomers) will build out many, many more homes than this proposal. It was approved long ago – nothing anyone can do about that. There were very few strawberries in Nipomo 20 years ago. The major water pumpers are berries. You weenies who think residential water reduction will make a difference are smoking weed(pot is another large draw on our water). If each residence cut’s water consumption by a third, it won’t make a dent in total usage. Agriculture is the big water user and waster too – Santa Maria row crops are extremely inefficient. I would venture to guess that all you water police who think that stopping growth and killing lawns are the same blithering idiots that took away my single use plastic bag. You must feel so good about how you’re saving me. Mahalo!

    (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
    • obispan says:

      Agriculture bad, tract housing to maximize “final harvest” gains by a few favored developers good.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
    • JMO says:

      Russ, just a minor correction. Santa Maria row crop irrigation isn’t that inefficient. Any over-irrigation simply goes back to the groundwater (although that is “energy” inefficient, but not “water” inefficient). Also, the Santa Maria basin is not in overdraft. There is actually quite a bit of water for agriculture, no matter what some (even in agriculture) might complain about. That was all adjudicated with Nipomo anyway.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Interesting factoid….the Trilogy development was okayed by the county because–no kidding here–the developers claimed that the Trilogy development would occur over an aquifer that was not related to the aquifer underlying the Nipomo Mesa.

      I know we cannot do much about the ag usage. That is a problem statewide, and our reps in Sacramento lack the balls to hold ag special interests accountable for the amount of water they use and the way it is used.

      So we have to do what we can, where we can, to hold our local rip-off artists accountable for the bait-and-switch scam they are running in Nipomo.

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • snooky156 says:

      Aloha, Russ! Before you assume that everybody who might disagree with you is a “blithering idiot”, I suggest you do more research. San Diego imports 90% of the water they use, and they discharge over 200 million gallons a day to the ocean. If 33% of their imported water is also used for residential landscaping, that’s roughly 300 million gallons a day being sucked from the Colorado River or from the Delta for residential water use in San Diego alone!

      In the Five Cities area, we discharge 3.5 million gallons a day of usable water into the ocean while everybody recognizes the area faces a water supply crisis. Agriculture will not be the source of new water supply to reduce the impacts of continued crisis, but residential water users do have the ability to make a significant impact through augmenting existing wastewater treatment, through Indirect Potable Reuse, and by throwing away less water.

      The basic lesson here is… You can help resolve problems we face together by decreasing the amount of stuff you throw away. If you recognize that we can do better, check out the “Cycle of Insanity” here:

      I expect a full report. Mahalo!

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. JMO says:

    There are Strawberrys grown in Nipomo. If the Strawberrys use an average of 0.2 inches of irrigation water a day for 6 months out of the year, the field would use 36 inches of water. For 1 acre, that would be 36 acre-inches or 3 acre-feet of water. One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons. So the Strawberry field would use about 1 million gallons of water per acre per year. An average household uses 360 gallons a day (190 gallons is for landscaping). Multiply that times 365 give you 131,000 gallons a year per household.

    So, 1 acre of Strawberrys could provide enough water for over 7 houses. These developments are probably less than 7 houses per acre. I like agriculture, but it is the largest water user in California by far.

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  4. Pelican1 says:

    Remember when the Naciemento pipeline promised to save all the communities from the prospect of running out of water. My how things have changed given our extended drought. A word or caution NCSD
    “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it …

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      NCSD is fully aware of the scam they are pulling…telling their ratepayers they needed the pipeline to save the aquifer while, all along, they were already planning to use it for massive development projects.

      (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
  5. Joaquin says:

    NCSD has never seen a developer they didn’t like. We have voted 3 times to NOT have State water, one election the NCSD had rigged so that your vote was weighted by the land you own, and they still lost. But, bring it in the back door from Santa Maria without voter approval! Let’s all pay the bills for the infrastructure so developers have the resources to develop. They make profits, we just live here. And….where is that State water this year? None is being delivered due to the drought and lack of snowfall. Did we wait to see the outcome of this drought? No, go right ahead and essentially steal from the local homeowners for new development. The 20-30% reduction of usage on the Nipomo Mesa is nothing compared to the extensive agriculture utilizing the same aquifer. This is agriculture that now irrigates former dry grassland. Let’s see, 84% water used by agiculture, homeowners cut back 25%, what is 25% of the 16% left after agricultural users? Don’t think that homeowners with dead lawn etc. are really making a difference. Remember that Nipomo has 3 golfcourses that are heavily watered along with the peripheral plantings in the neighborhoods and streets. San Marcos golfcourse is dry, except for the greens. Don’t see any effort by golfcourses in Nipomo. Sadly, NCSD has NEVER served the community of Nipomo except for the developments. That giant (compare to other cities) sewer treatment plant foreshadows Nipomo’s future. Certainly we will not see prudent oversight and planning by NCSD.

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      You nailed it.

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
    • obispan says:

      The City of SLO did the same thing. Ratepayers water bills will eventually be triple that before the $190 million Nacimiento pipeline. Bill Stadler and Ken Hampion commissioned a “study” that determined that existing ratepayers should pay 80% of the costs for “increased reliability” and developers 20%. The beautiful thing is there is no increased “reliability” when you are going to use 100% of the additional resources for development. In short, the 1,000 new houses near the airport are being subsidized $150,000/house by SLO water ratepayers. And in short, this is the way the City of SLO operates day-in day-out. It is an entity apart from it’s RESIDENTS. VOTE NO ON MEASURE G! And vote for Mike Clark, the only candidate not a part of the current cabal drooling at being rid of Kathy Smith.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
      • obispan says:

        Although I have not met the woman, can’t we appoint Kathy Smith Mayor for life?

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  6. MaryMalone says:

    This f***-you attitude of the NCSD towards its ratepayers, while an outrage, should not surprise anyone who has watched the NCSD over the years.

    The current rate payers are paying for the increased capacity in both the new wastewater treatment facility and the Santa Maria supplemental water pipeline, both of which were clearly built to support A LOT more real estate development on the Mesa.

    It isn’t just NCSD who is to blame, either. This could not have been accomplished without the collusion and support of our real-estate-developer @ss-kissing county supervisors.

    The NCSD’ s General Manager, Michael Lebrun, adds further insult to the NCSD’ s board of directors decision on new development by claiming the NCSD has already decreased consumption and pumping. The minimal “savings” in NCSD’ s he claims over the last few years occurred on the backs of steep water rate increases forced on the existing ratepayers. It is literally drop in the bucket of the amount of water needed to both support new development and turn around the precipitous depletement of the shared aquifer serving the Nipomo Mesa and Five-Cities area.

    The fact is, it is the current rate payers who, for years, until the new housing development is completed, sold and occupied, who will be the only ones paying for the increased water and sewer capacity, which will allow the new development to occur.

    Meanwhile, the aquifer upon which NCSD and Five-Cities depends continues to be drawn down at a precipitous rate, and it won’t be only NCSD’ s problem.

    There are three other major water sellers who have rights to the water from the aquifer NCSD has so recklessly endangered. And if their ability to supply water to their water customers is put at risk by NCSD, there will be a spreading ripple effect as other water suppliers must seek new sources of water …and in a sellers’ market, too.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
    • obispan says:

      Ef that s**t, the idea is to continue to develop and profit regardless of consequences for anybody other than themselves. And why the hell not? Gary Grossman and Rob Rossi don’t give a rats rear end about anybody’s interests other than their own. Oddly enough, I support Lynn Compton, because like Debbie Arnold you can have an honest discussion with them about liberal concerns about resources and sustainability. Caren Ray is bought and paid for by developers. How weird is that?

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  7. tomsquawk says:

    isn’t it funny how we slaver over the drought and yet more dwelling units get approved? this kind of duplicity has been going on forever. now we all demand that new units pay more for water i.e. meter hook-ups. into whose hands have we played?

    a simple NO would be good enough.

    (17) 19 Total Votes - 18 up - 1 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      The country-club development won’t be the last large development, either.

      Remember, NCSD has for years been working with the county to develop land into a huge, low-income, high-density development in Nipomo.

      The county is required to have a certain amount of this type of housing. The only areas left for that amount of units are in North County and South County.

      My guess is NCSD and the county made a deal…the county supported the new country club development, even in a time of record breaking drought and the Nipomo Mesa’ s aquifer being drawn down to saltwater-intrusion levels, in exchange for the required high numbers of low-income, high-density development.

      And, yes, like the country club development, the NCSD current ratepayers will be paying for all that excess costs of the water pipeline and wastewater treatment facility upgrade. Even though, with a real water conservation program, and a permanent cap on development, the wastewater treatment facility would not have required an increase in capacity , and the NCSD would not have required the extra hundreds of acre-feet NCSD insisted be included in the pipeline deal.

      The reason for those extra hundreds of acre feet of water for NCSD in the pipeline deal? For the new golf course development and low-income, high-density development.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • obispan says:

        Free market baby, and an Ayn Rand philosophy that is be all end all. Enjoy. Water is a commodity, like gasoline, and if you can’t pay for it you don’t get.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down

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