San Luis Obispo County and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are set to study the groundwater conditions in the Adelaida region
of North County for the first time—and they’re asking local landowners for help.
The two agencies inked a partnership
last year to undergo the study, which will collect and analyze data on the water supply, land uses, and groundwater flow over the mostly rural region west of Highway 101—north to Lake Nacimiento and south to Atascadero.
MAP COURTESY OF THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
UNDERGROUND MYSTERY A U.S. Geological Survey study will aim to better understand the groundwater conditions in the Adelaida region west of Paso Robles.
Increased agricultural activity in the area over the years has caused growing concern among landowners
that groundwater levels are in decline, but little hydrogeologic data is available. The region’s underground network of fractured rock is considered separate from the neighboring Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.
At an Aug. 6 meeting introducing the study, officials asked landowners to share their well information with the USGS to help build its database.
“For the past several years, I’ve been hearing from local community members concerned about recent declines of groundwater levels,” said Devin Best, executive director of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District. “Today, we’re reaching out to the community to begin developing a local relationship to gather information about the conditions in the Adelaida area.”
The USGS plans to compile landowner well data through the end of September. Adelaida property owners can sign a consent form
available online, which authorizes the USGS to conduct a field visit and to confidentially use their well data, including pumping records, groundwater levels, and more.
“This is really an opportunity for us to develop a working relationship,” Best said. “We need to be able to engage with landowners and find out what they have as far as information. ... There’s very few data points.”
After compiling the data, the USGS will analyze it and identify additional information needed to adequately understand the water system. That analysis is expected to conclude by March 2021, at which point the Board of Supervisors will determine the next steps.
One goal of the study, according to county officials, is to build a scientific foundation that could justify future water management actions or policies in the region. ∆