Moving forward with water solutions for the Paso Robles basin

March 8, 2016

Supervisor Lynn Compton

Opinion by supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton

Tonight the San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder’s Office has reported preliminary results regarding the formation of a special water district, also known as the AB 2453 Water District, for the Paso Robles water basin area. At this time, based on these preliminary results, it appears that the vote to form this special water district will fail.

We believe we can all agree that that we are in the midst of a severe drought, and we will continue to have regulations handed down from Sacramento and targeted at high or medium priority basins, pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SIGMA). San Luis Obispo County has five such basins that have been identified as fitting into one of these categories.

The landowners of the Paso Robles Basin have spoken clearly. They do not want to create another layer of government to do the job that the County’s Flood Control District has performed for more than 70 years.

The voters have also indicated they do not want Sacramento to control the Paso Robles basin.

The people want to maintain local control and voted against what would have been one of the largest tax increase in the county’s history. The landowners recognized that, if formed, the AB 2453 Water District would have had special authority to tax and regulate their property, making it more difficult for small family farms to continue to operate.

The process of pursuing this AB 2453 Special Water District, initiated by a handful of large, mostly out of town irrigators, has cost the taxpayers of this county approximately $1 million to date.

So, what’s next given the preliminary ballot results?

Supervisor Debbie Arnold

Supervisor Debbie Arnold

We know that the County’s Public Works Department is fully capable of doing the work necessary to comply with the new state laws (SIGMA). There are actually five basins in San Luis Obispo County that must comply with SIGMA. The county, in its capacity, will play a role in the management of each of these identified basins.

We look forward to working with the Public Works Department in the coming months to better understand how to bring the Paso Robles Basin back into balance. The SIGMA-identified basins to become sustainable, basically through increasing their water supply, or by conserving water.

If large agricultural interests in the Paso Robles basin wish to expand, then it would be a business decision for them, to create irrigation districts to bring in more water. Meanwhile, the many thousands of users in the Paso Robles Basin, that do not use their property for commercial irrigation purposes should retain their rights to use their wells and work with the county to ensure that the basin is brought into balance.

The county’s efforts to create additional water supplies are just coming on-line. The Nacimiento Pipeline Project will provide a new source of water (17,500 acre/feet/year) to alleviate some of the pumping in the urban areas of Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo, and could possibly be used in the south county under emergency situations.

The county is also actively pursuing a partnership with PG&E to provide desalinated water to the county.

Our goal through all of this has been to ensure that we are looking out for the best interest of the people who live in the Paso Robles Basin and protect our county’s precious water resource.

In the meantime, the county will continue to manage the unincorporated areas of the basin, and work with the cities to design a basin management plan which satisfies the states SIGMA mandates.

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The people in the Paso Basic should pay for the plan. I don’t want county general funds paying for the Paso problem.

We already pay for the management of all the water basins and their use in the county. SLO County Public Works is that agency.

Now a more important question is why has no additional water storage been provided in the last 40 years by SLO County, save for Lopez Lake, even though many studies show we are exceeding our current capacity and more and more large developments and hotels are and have been built in this same time period? If I am not mistaken seven new hotels have been approved and built in Atascadero, Templeton and Paso Robles in the past five years.

I agree that water storage is the HONEST way to handle “the water issue”.

If you are not addressing water capture you are a fraud!

Water water everywhere except in storage.

I to want to thank Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton for saying what all of us out there have been screaming inside our heads for you to say and hopefully do once John Peschong is elected in the 1st district, Dan Carpenter in the 3rd District and Debbie Arnold re-elected in the 5th district.

“We know that the County’s Public Works Department is fully capable of doing the work necessary to comply with the new state laws (SIGMA). There are actually five basins in San Luis Obispo County that must comply with SIGMA. The county, in its capacity, will play a role in the management of each of these identified basins.”

Excellent facts that seemed to have gotten left out of the equation when the money was spent on this ridiculous AB 2453 Special Water District proposal.

The fact that the County of SLO has done little to develop any new sources of water over the past decades (with the exception of the naci pipeline) and has been lacking in their maintenance and operations of the counties water systems.

Is very telling…

Dump Adam Hill

Stop Corruption.

Wow Lynn, you finally get that we are in “a severe drought”? Sure hope you remember that when development issues like Laetitia come before you!

Hope you remember Adam Hill got money from the developer when voting time comes.

Hopefully both will do the right thing when looking at Laetitia. It’s just plain wrong on so many levels.

The main reason Laetitia should be denied is it creates another Blood Alley Prunedale type driving experience with people trying to cross 101 to get to their house. If any of the Supervisors approve Laetitia, they should be run out of town.

I agree, but don’t forget:

Water issues

Sewage treatment plant and effluent

Inadequate surface roads

etc, etc,etc

Maybe she heard more “anecdotal” stories about dry wells,

Wow, still attacking the ag industry publicly, while encouraging them to create their own seats at the GSA to represent themselves. This will only serve to disenfranchise the rural resident. Little guy: You just got screwed by COLAB. Let’s hope these two can do more than deliver rhetoric about what the County should do, and actually do something, which will be a first.

justforfun, the little guys understands when people lie. We didn’t buy what Sue Luft and her bunch were selling. This was never about saving the basin, it was to open the door for people like Stewart Resnick and the Harvard group to sell our water.

Wine grapes are NOT agriculture. It isn’t food. No one needs them. They are used in the making of a drug, for recreation. The water shortages will NEVER stop until the vines are dry farmed or abandoned.

Home run…

Wine is not a needed food crop, it is an expensive luxury and an intoxicant… Vegetables or livestock raised for human sustenance and clean drinking water are necessities and the very things our ground water basin should be used for.

And the SLO public Works Dept. had better start doing their job and manage what has been entrusted to them, by us TAXPAYERS…

Thanks Lynn and Debbie for listening to the people and protecting private property rights. More storage is the logical answer.

Yes, congrats to Debbie & Lynn. They always understood this issue, have not changed their position and have done what they promised- protecting private property rights! And yes Dan, you get it. Water storage is the answer, just too many bureaucrats aren’t listening.

Thank you to Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold for their stand against the water district which is another layer of bureaucracy with powers to tax and regulate! Thank you also to John Peschong and Dan Carpenter for their stand opposing the water district. Vote for Peschong, Arnold and Carpenter come June 7.

I was remiss not calling attention to the fact that current Supervisor Adam Hill supported the water district BIG TIME. In his recent Dan Carpenter radio attack ads, Adam berates Dan for opposing the water district. Adam Hill is, as usual, for more layers of government bureaucracies, more regulations and more taxation. Enough. Vote for Dan Carpenter for 3rd district Supervisor on June 7.

How about building more storage? We need lakes!

If Sacramento truly gives a crap about the basins that are quenched by the Salina River, then Sacramento should take a look at their annually renewed permit (permission) to divert Salinas River water to San Luis Obispo. SLO has aggressively consumed Salinas River water that is NOT LICENSED for SLO’s long term use. The City of San Luis Obispo will eventually have to deal with their “Sacramento” unfinished business. Sacramento already has blessed, by Constitution, those of us who have and those who have not will need to buy from a willing seller. Water is not the same as oil, it is more valuable.