State water board urges supervisors to protect Paso groundwater

Agency writes to supervisors, imploring them to adopt an emergency ordinance on water

dsneed@thetribunenews.comAugust 23, 2013 

Dryland farming and ranching have given way to vineyards like this area off Linne Road just outside Paso Robles.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The State Water Resources Control Board has sent a letter to San Luis Obispo County supervisors urging them to adopt an emergency ordinance to protect the Paso Robles groundwater basin.

In the letter, Thomas Howard, the board’s executive director, said supervisors should adopt an ordinance when they meet Tuesday that will slow the current depletion of the groundwater basin and allow time to develop a basin management plan.

“Every source of potable water must be protected and managed to ensure long-term sustainability,” he wrote in the letter.

He went on to warn that if the basin’s overdraft is not corrected, it could harm water quality and the environment and permanently decrease the basin’s storage capacity through consolidation of sediments.

“Local action is needed now, given limited surface water supplies to recharge the basin, increasing demand, and the uncertainties on what impact climate change will have on local annual rainfall,” he wrote.

Howard said he has directed local water authorities to track the county’s progress in addressing the problem and report back to him.

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