Cities demand halt to Nipomo Mesa development

October 12, 2015

waterwarThe cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach are seeking a court order barring new development and new groundwater pumping on the Nipomo Mesa. [Tribune]

The three South County cities have long been battling the Nipomo Community Services District and other water providers in the area over use of the Santa Maria groundwater basin. A legal memorandum filed by the three cities alleges Nipomo Mesa water providers have overpumped the basin, which is preventing underground recharge from reaching the northern part of the basin and is raising the risk of saltwater intrusion in wells.

Attorneys for Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach filed the memorandum in Santa Clara Superior Court on Sept. 29. The cities are requesting a court order prohibiting new wells, new developments and new water entitlements on the Nipomo Mesa until the overpumping ceases and more water is imported to the area.

In 2008, a judge ordered Nipomo to import 2,500 acre feet of water. The Nipomo CSD is in the process of completing a pipeline from Santa Maria that will help the community comply with the order.

The CSD recently completed the first phase of the project, but it is only expected to bring in 650 acre feet of water in the first year. The pipeline is not expected to deliver 2,500 acre feet of water until around 2025.

The cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach allege groundwater pumping in the Nipomo area increased from 10,900 acre feet in 2005 to approximately 16,000 acre feet in 2014. The cities are also requesting that a judge order Nipomo to establish a plan to return pumping to 2005 levels.

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I know this is frustrating for residents.

But the reality is: councils, cities, etc have thousands to hire lawyers and the time to perfect their desires.

Regular residents do not. While many here have made valid points about resources, overpopulation, etc. There is little that can be done.

Politicians know this. They know that they have the time and money to get their way, while average residents have lives – families, jobs, children, hobbies, commitments.

It’s sad but that’s the reality. Until somebody comes up with a better idea…