The City of Arroyo Grande is thirsty. After a few close scrapes with the bottom of the proverbial water barrel, the City Council voted to try to buy 250 acre-feet of water from the Oceano Community Services District.
The purchase would cost the city, according to staff reports, $300,000 to $350,000 each year and provide enough water to meet its short-term needs.
Water is a hot commodity in the county, especially in the Five Cities area. Unlike the North County and the City of San Luis Obispo, which can tap into the newly constructed Nacimiento Water Project for their future water needs, Arroyo Grande depends mostly on wells and Lopez Lake. The city was using 99 percent of its available water supply in January 2009 and has been on the lookout to find new water sources ever since.
Another problem confronting the city is whether Oceano will sell the water. Though the Oceano Community Services District has been a reserve source for the city in the past, the district board recently turned down two proposals to send water to Arroyo Grande. The board did agree to sell water to developers looking to have their property incorporated by Pismo Beach. In the end, who gets the water may come down to who’s willing to pay the most for it.
Oceano’s district is in the driver’s seat with a ready surplus of water that developers and other SLO County cities would like to get their hands on. Arroyo Grande leaders hope to get water from the district while they can.