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The CCSD's water situation is dumbfounding



The day before the Cambria Community Services District board took the action to revise their drought restrictions and ease its rule on outdoor irrigation, it had a special meeting wherein CCSD General Manager Jerry Gruber reported nearly a dozen stopgap measures to reduce costs and increase revenue over the next six months of anticipated cash deficiencies for the district. Deferring payments to creditors, a hiring freeze, wage increase suspensions, postponing or deferring projects, and “allow outside irrigation at least one day per week … to help mitigate impact of drought on trees and to generate additional revenue for the district.” In the staff report, Gruber says “staff anticipates no increase in the amount of water being used due to the fact that water allocations will remain the same.”

Cambria is a champion community at saving water, faced with years of water supply uncertainty and a hotly contended building moratorium. Cambrians have done a remarkable job saving water. They have done so, much to the chagrin of some residents (even board members) who have gone to great lengths to keep their ornamental gardens alive with non-potable water trucked to their properties. 

Cambria has built an Emergency Water System (EWS) that blew over its original budget by nearly 50 percent and the district has burned through internal fund loans that the CCSD approved from their general fund. 

The EWS was built with an emergency permit. If Cambria is no longer in an emergency, only then, would it make sense to lift drought restrictions. This measure is simply to raise revenue for the district’s ailing coffers in two ways: one, simply to sell more water; and two, as the aquifer is depleted to the permitted level, the EWS can be turned on and the much higher rates associated with project costs can be charged. 

The staff report goes on to say, “Modifying of the outdoor irrigation watering schedule for the community should not necessarily be directly tied to the restarting of the EWS; however, staff will make every effort to restart the EWS based on the criteria that was outlined within the general manager’s report in July of 2015 with a certain amount of flexibility relating to well levels and the gradient.” 

This unethical use of water is disguised as a fire protection measure. While in fact, it’s a thinly veiled attempt to pay for the EWS boondoggle.

-- Julie Tacker - Los Osos

-- Julie Tacker - Los Osos

-- Julie Tacker - Los Osos

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