Construction contracts for Nipomo pipeline are focus of Thursday meeting

clambert@thetribunenews.comJune 19, 2013 

The Nipomo Community Services District will hold a special meeting Thursday to consider awarding three contracts for construction of the first phase of a project to build a pipeline to bring water to the community from Santa Maria.

“There is no question, this is the most important water resources project in the district’s near 50-year history,” General Manager Michael LeBrun said in an email.

However, the project has also been contentious, and was recently challenged by a group of local residents over one part of its funding plan.

The group, Mesa Community Alliance, also fought against the district’s effort last year to increase property taxes through an assessment district to pay for construction of a complete pipeline project. The district’s effort failed, but local leaders soon came back with a new, phased approach for the project.

The first phase is now estimated to cost about $16.8 million, about $700,000 less than previously projected.

Nipomo district officials have long held that Mesa property owners must reduce their dependency on the underground aquifer, which is the area’s only source of water. The project will allow the district to reduce its pumping from existing wells, according to a staff report.

Officials have said the project could be delayed if construction contracts aren’t awarded by June 26, potentially jeopardizing a $2.2 million state grant.

The district board’s special meeting starts at 8 a.m. at 148 S. Wilson St. To view the staff reports, go to http://nipomocsd.com.

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