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Coming up dry

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Nipomo residents have given their two cents on a proposal to tap into a new water supply from Santa Maria. Actually, they gave a lot more than two cents, most of it opposing the project.

On May 9, the last assessment ballots were cast, and Nipomo property owners put their money and their mouths toward a firm “no” on a proposed $25.2 million pipeline from Santa Maria that would have eventually carried back 6,000 acre-feet per year.

The ballots, which were weighted based on property rather than a straight one-vote-per-resident, came in with a final tally of $7.49 million worth of assessments against the project and $6.92 million in favor of it. Strictly by the number of votes cast, the spread was 69 percent against and 31 percent in favor, according to Pat Eby (no relation to Nipomo Community Services District Director Ed Eby), a member of the citizen group Mesa Community Alliance.

“I just think there are much better solutions, and Mesa Community Alliance feels there are much better solutions,” Eby said.

Officials with the district had spent about $3 million since 2005 in pursuit of the project. Without supplemental water, officials say, the community’s available groundwater could soon be depleted and put the coastal town’s supply in danger of seawater intrusion.

District General Manager Michael LeBrun said the district will begin discussing what to do next at a scheduled May 23 Board of Directors meeting.

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