Monning, Cunningham push for water board loan to Paso Robles

December 26, 2016
Jordan Cunningham

Jordan Cunningham

Correction: The recycled water is intended to go to the agricultural community, not to an agricultural facility.

In a display of bipartisanship, Central Coast representatives Democratic State Senator Bill Monning and Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham are asking the State Water Resources Control Board to hurry up and approve funding for a planned Paso Robles water recycling facility.

Paso Robles recently upgraded its sewage plant, and city officials now want to add a tertiary treatment facility to produce recycled water for the agricultural community. The planned use of recycled water is expected to alleviate some of the stress on the Paso Robles groundwater basin.

“The city’s proposal is as ‘shovel ready’ as any project will get, and the prospect of jobs and regional economic development are at stake,” Monning and Cunningham wrote in a Dec. 20 letter to water board officials.

City officials are seeking a low-interest loan, as well as grant funding for the tertiary treatment facility. The loan and grant would come from a program operated by the state water board.

Senator Bill Monning

Senator Bill Monning

Paso Robles applied for the funds in Sept. 2015. Though the city has completed all of the design work and obtained all of the necessary permits, its application appears to have stalled, the letter states.

The city is waiting for staff to prepare a financing agreement and complete a final legal review. City officials want to advertise the project for bids in Feb. 2017, but they must first reach an agreement with overseers of the water board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Monning and Cunningham are asking the program administrators to prioritize issuing a financing agreement, so Paso Robles can put the project out for bid and begin construction in 2017. City officials want construction to begin when there is summer weather. Otherwise, costs would increase, they say.


Here’s the catch. The taxpayers of Paso Robles need to monitor who gets recycled water because we will pay for the infrastructure, and the city cannot sell water for profit to county vineyards. They can only sell water for cost and county vineyards are not paying for any of the infrastructure costs.

The argument that selling water to vineyards will reduce the pressure on ground water supplies also applies to the city using recycled water and selling it to Paso residents for landscaping and yards (it will reduce the city usage of groundwater also). Many of us will be along the purple piping routes that Paso will have to dig and install. Every green belt and public area along the path should have access to the recycled water. Every effort should be made to see if recycled water can be supplied to Paso residents for yards and landscaping.

We have to make sure that the recycled water is not sold (for cost) outside the city of Paso unless it is truly surplus water that the residents can’t use. City Council members need to be reminded that they serve the people of Paso, not wealthy vineyard owners such as J. Lohr.

Thanks to Cunningham and Monning for trying to help with the infrastructure costs.

Jorge Estrada

The State has no money for roads as in they can’t keep up with their maintenance liabilities. With this in mind, I have to wonder how many staffers are in this state process and may know that the final answer will be there is no money to be allocated. Does it ever cross your mind that there may be just enough money to fund government pay checks?


“Recycled water for the agriculture facility”. So are we using taxpayer money to once again supplement the agriculture business which I’m going to assume is grapes? While at the same time the citizens of Paso Robles, along with the rest of taxpayers, will keep getting tagged for the costs of these projects while their agriculture facility, lawns and landscape, have to die because of the lack of water?

Oh my! Just another fleecing of the taxpayer.