Under pressure, Grover Beach quits recycled water project

April 23, 2024

Grover Beach City Council


Rejecting staff recommendations, the Grover Beach City Council on Monday agreed to quit a controversial water recycling project and stop funding Central Coast Blue.

In response to years of drought, in 2016, the cities of Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach agreed on plans for a recycled water project to bring an additional 900 to 1,000 acre feet of water annually to the South County cities. However, the Central Coast Blue project soared in price from an estimated $29 million to a current estimate of between $135 million to $158 million, even though the project was shrinking in scope.

During Monday’s meeting, city staff warned of impending droughts while asking the council to agree to remain in the Central Coast Blue Joint Powers Authority at a cost of approximately $180,000 per year. Staff said the agency was needed to develop a plan for water resiliency while residents argued against spending taxpayer money on what they called a “boondoggle.”

In March, a citizens group in Grover Beach turned in more than four times the required signatures to put an initiative to repeal a 112% water rate increase on the November ballot. The bulk of the water rate increase was slated to help fund Central Coast Blue.

In addition to the proposed initiative, the group is working to recall the three council members who voted for the water rate increase: Mayor Karen Bright and councilmen Daniel Rushing and Zachary Zimmerman.

In a change of direction, all five council members agreed Monday to get out Central Coast Blue. The council then directed staff to come back with a proposal to direct some funding to developing a water resiliency plan. At their next meeting, the board plans to approve the changes.


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As a second generation GB resident, this counsel is a real disappointment. They have wreaked the city’s reputation. Recall!

Back in the day I was going over the Benicia bridge. On the East side was a group of Navy ships labeled “Mothball fleet.” My Uncle was explaining that those ships would NEVER be brought back into service. They were put there and NEW ships were ordered and the military lobbyists this and that etc. would be payed for new contracts. Years later I discovered instead of recycling the equipment on the ships, they sunk them offshore “To create a reef” for fish to mill about because without our $50,000,000 million taxpayer funded ships on the floor of the ocean, they would perish. ONBOARD those ships are fresh water evaporators that take salt water and converts it to fresh water for Chow, laundry, machinery, drinking etc. Why we can’t take those evaporators and use them here is unbelievable. They’re designed, built, they’ve been proven to be able to create fresh water. Of course on a small scale, but a series of evaporators in remote places like Cambria, San Simeon might not be a large enough volume but it can be a help. https://seapowermagazine.org/navy-plans-to-retire-48-ships-during-2022-2026/?print=pdf On the Nimitz alone, the evaporators make enough fresh water for 5,000 sailors.

I find this idea very interesting. I would love to see some way of recycling such equipment to put it to good use. The only concern I have is the same one that is a main concern for desal everywhere – the environmental impact. The desal being utilized in the middle east is destroying life in their vicinities, gulfs and oceans alike. This is an impact we simply cannot afford. If there were a way around that consequence, I would be all in favor. The fact that the onboard plants are almost constantly on the move makes the waste less of a hazard. I also imagine there are many other items that could be removed and put to good use before they sink a ship as well.

Well, that’s a relief. But criminy! Karen Bright?! Only under threat of recall you do what is plain-as-day the correct thing?

You are so easily manipulated. The SLO Co manipulator in chief, Bruce Gibson, has repeatedly taken advantage of your lack of backbone, pushing you into very compromising situations and decisions. Given how Bruce sticks his nose into everything outside his district, particularly county water issues, I’m sure he had a hand in telling you to do the wrong thing. I’m glad now you have chosen the right course, but if I lived in GB, I’d still happily vote for your recall. You are not trustworthy.

It’s not over yet. The officials who dragged us into this won’t go down without a fight, and unless we keep holding their feet to the fire, they will be back with a vengeance to cover their misdeeds.

Finally the elders put the never ending, never stop spending staff in their place

What a relief to hear that Grover Beach will not be suckered into the same money pit scam that has burdened Cambria with a facility that is not only so highly polluting that it is unable to be permitted, but also usuriously expensive, sucking up finances from people on limited incomes and preventing the repairs to our crumbling infrastructure of aging pipes and outdated sewer system. It was supposedly completed in 2014 and is still not permitted. We had a guarantee that we would receive $1,000 for every day after a date that fell in November of 2014 that the facility functionality was delayed. So far, that unit has not contributed a drop of water and all we have seen is sky high water bills, due in large part to those who designed and built it, whom we are paying off for absolutely nothing but an environmental headache. IMHO.

Why this racket, which is not uncommon, is not considered a criminal undertaking is beyond my understanding.

Guess the city clerk can now stop stonewalling the petition for the ballot initiative to repeal a 112% water rate increase and just focus on stonewalling the recall petition.

Thank you, Debbie Peterson!!!

Of course staff wanted to continue. More taxes and fees = higher public sector wages and benefits.