Letter to the Editor

County must act now

Paso RoblesJune 24, 2013 

It is said that alfalfa uses more water than does grapes. This is true.

The question, then, is are there more acres planted in alfalfa than in vineyards? And if there are more grape acres than alfalfa acres, what is the exact amount of water demanded by each crop and what is the action required to make the balance workable?

It is argued that if we do not continually expand the acres of grapes, the economy of Paso Robles will be destroyed as the tourist industry will suffer, no new jobs will be created and it is the conservationists’ fault.

What if the number of jobs is good, if continuous expansion of acreage means that 80 percent of the vineyards fail and that real estate values are destroyed as the aquifer is empty? What if enough is good?

These are all false equivalences: These arguments are intended to paralyze rational discussions of what is required. The county has to act!

It may be that there is a moratorium on new acres planted. It may be that the number of new wells is set at zero. It may be that no new houses may be built in North County, freezing the population. These are hard times, and the answers are hard answers. As was said, “There are easy answers to hard questions. The problem is that the answers are invariably wrong.”

City and county councils: Do your job and get to work!

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