SLO County considering cloud seeding

February 24, 2016

Rain 4At a hearing on water supply options for South County, a public works official said San Luis Obispo County staffers are looking into the possibility of increasing rainfall by cloud seeding. [Tribune]

Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification in which particles, such as silver iodide, are released from airplanes. Mark Hutchinson, the county’s deputy public works director, said studies have shown cloud seeding can increase rainfall by as much as 20 percent.

Santa Barbara County has conducted cloud seeding since 1981. If San Luis Obispo County begins cloud seeding, it would collaborate with Santa Barbara and Monterey counties, Hutchinson said.

Despite the current El Nino weather pattern, South County’s Lopez Lake is expected to be at just 20 percent capacity by this fall, Hutchinson said. The lake is currently at 29 percent capacity.

On Tuesday, the county board of supervisors discussed two projects that could provide an additional 2,000 acre-feet of water or more to the Five Cities Area. South County cities, led by Pismo Beach, are planning on constructing a water recycling facility, and county public works staff is currently studying the possibility of piping water from the Diablo Canyon desalination plant to Lopez Lake.

The water recycling project could inject as much as 1,200 acre-feet of treated wastewater into the Santa Maria groundwater basin in South County. Pismo Beach city staffers have previously said the project would cost about $30 million.

At maximum capacity, the Diablo Canyon desalination plant could produce as much as 1,300 acre-feet of additional water. The desalinated water could be available as soon as next year.

Last August, the board of supervisors gave unanimous support for a plan to build a pipeline from Diablo Canyon to Avila Beach. That pipeline would connect to a pipeline to Lopez Lake.

County staff previously said the pipeline to Avila Beach would cost between $8 million and $11 million. Public works staffers are expected to deliver a report on the desalination project at the March 22 board of supervisors meeting.

During Tuesday’s hearing, county supervisors voiced approval for both the water reclamation and desalination projects. Officials from Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach and Oceano also attended the meeting and expressed support for the projects.


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Pelican1

Perhaps Adam should reprise his now infamous dance. It could bring a lot of rain.


Mitch C

Pismo Beach, in their wisdom, is building two new hotels. Some restaurants serve water only on request. The city council is asking for residents to curtail water. People checking into a $400 per night ocean front room are not going to pay attention to the amount of water they use. Someone has to evaluate the population size that existing water will serve … currently the Pismo city council is squeezing the residents in favor of providing unlimited water to new development. Someone needs to start making more sound decisions. The current water available is the new normal and no one has any facts to prove that things will improve in the future.


tictac1

“Someone has to evaluate the population size that existing water will serve”


That’s crazy talk. How are we going to find funds of every-increasing local government if we don’t develop every inch? No no, you residents will simply need to make do with less, so we can bring in more residents and tourists. Remember, it’s for the kids!


I spent last weekend in Anaheim, I lived there long ago. Now, it’s non-stop noise, construction everywhere (both new and repair work), traffic literally all day and night. I can’t imagine the background stress the residents live with every day. Is that we want for our county? Perhaps the water issue will actually become a stop-gap to that type of greedy insanity.


indigo1955

Santa Barbara hasn’t gotten any rain either. This just has “chem trail disclosure” written all over it.


TWEEKSBALMER

Wear a foil hat and you’ll be just fine.


shelworth

I’m pretty sure you need clouds first…


kayaknut

Don’t confuse the government with little details when it comes to them spending taxpayer money.


Jorge Estrada

I find it refreshing to read that Gov is considering to spend money on something that actually may produce water. Yes, the seeding of clouds is a trick on mother nature but housing and tourism are unexpected by mother nature too. Next week should be a good time to get started.


diamond

At least the city of Morro Bay in it’s vast wisdom built a desalinization plant years ago in preparation of future water shortages!


Then let it fall into disrepair, throwing away millions of dollars. Give yourselves another raise!


But what’s more important is hiring code enforcment officers to shake down an old lady who’s hedges got to tall. Carry on.


mary margaret

How about our County and City officials start by STOPPING all of the building for people who do not need water since they do not live here yet! We need an immediate building moratorium until we see where we stand with water, rain, reservoirs & evaporation in a Mediterranean climate that is hotter & drier than ever. How many people can this area support with water? Our elected officials are not acting responsibly. Cloud seeding is very expensive and unreliable.


achillesheal

Can we also stop the growth of government, their hiring and building of facilities to house their useless employees? Not a chance.


shudacuda

It might be more prudent to let mother nature determine when it’s going to rain rather than introduce another toxic chemical which will eventually find its way into the soil, the ground water, the crops,and then all of us. Don’t want to get into the whole chemtrail controversy, but the info on that is out there. The seeding may be an entirely different animal, but I for one am a little skeptical as to it not having some long term negative effects.


hijinks

You’re right to be skeptical. Cloud seeding is voodoo. Not a shred of evidence it actually works. But on the other hand, whenever govt seeds clouds and there’s a flood, guess who gets sued? Oh, and the areas to our east can sue too, since we “stole” their rain. Dumb idea, waste of money all around. Santa Barbara’s been paying tribute to the voodoo gods for a long time, with no relief from drought.


tomsquawk

why not go to the Res and grab an indian?


achillesheal

maybe adam hill and dee torres could do a few rain dances.


the only problem is that target gift cards would likely fall from the sky.