New hydrographs painted a clearer picture for the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors on Dec. 18 of severe water shortages in certain sub-areas of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, areas that don’t respond quickly to rainfall. Board members voiced concerns that increasing water supplies won’t be enough to address declining well levels throughout the region and voted unanimously to direct staff to hire a consultant who will rank the feasibility of proposed solutions over the next four months so implementation can begin.
“I’m more than a little concerned about a lack of progress here,” Supervisor Bruce Gibson said.
Many citizens have voiced concerns that the wine industry is sucking the basin dry, but people have unlimited rights to water under their properties. Reductions would have to be voluntary.
“If the biggest pumpers really want to avoid litigation, there needs to be a greater sense of stepping up to identify solutions,” Supervisor Adam Hill said. “We need more, quite frankly.”
County staffers will issue requests for proposals in coming weeks to find a consultant who will weigh the costs and benefits of recycled water, supplemental sources, and voluntary/incentive based conservation measures.