Letter to the Editor

Set water user rights

Paso RoblesJune 20, 2013 

While reading about the water issues in North County, it takes me back to eastern Washington, where I spent most of my life until moving here seven years ago.

Up there in the Yakima water basin, to name just one, there was a water adjudication process that ranked water use going back over 100 years to set a rating to the oldest established water users. This gave “water user rights” to those entities that had established the need for the use. In the end, there were places and properties that were outside the use rights and were no longer allowed to use water on those acres.

For the most part, this did not apply to single-family residents and it applied mostly to surface water. Like the gentleman from Texas, those surface waters came from reservoirs or streams. As we know, those are both scarce in San Luis Obispo County, so water must come from groundwater.

I have to ask, if we are in a seven-to-ten-year dryweather cycle and we are pumping record amounts of water — way more than is being replaced — then how long will our homes and vineyards have water?

To be continued.

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