Paso Robles water district gets LAFCO approval
April 8, 2017
The San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted 5-2 Thursday to approve an application to form the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District as part of the Paso Robles groundwater basin.
California law requires that water basins be sustainably managed by local agencies or risk intervention by state water officials. For years, several large vineyard owners including Stewart and Linda Resnick and the Harvard Investment Fund have supported plans for a groundwater basin district in the North County to be managed based on property ownership.
In early March 2016, more than 70 percent of voters rejected the large landowners’ plan. After their plan was rejected, the large land owners worked to form several water districts over portions of the Paso Robles basin. The proposed districts include a 144,000-acre Shandon-San Juan Water District and the about 40,000-acre Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District.
Both proposals have now received LAFCO approval and now require a vote of the property owners. Funding for the districts is slated to come from special taxes on landowners in the district.
Proponents of the districts say they want to responsibly manage the basin. Speakers noted the importance of vineyards to fuel the North County economy.
Opponents of the district raised concerns that smaller landowners would not have a voice. In addition, they noted that the public had already voted against formation of a water district.
LAFCO commissioners San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Debbie Arnold and Atascadero City Council Member Roberta Fonzi voted against the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District approval.