Letter to the Editor

Sustainable solution

PRAAGS chairmanSeptember 24, 2013 

Jerry Reaugh, chairman of Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, or PRAAGS.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Progress toward solutions for the Paso Robles groundwater basin is being made. A petition was filed on Sept. 16 with LAFCO, urging creation of a California Water District.

All agree that Paso Robles groundwater basin water levels are in decline, and without change, the basin will get worse.

The Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS) supported implementation of the urgency ordinance passed Aug. 27. It supports openminded, solution-focused discussion among basin stakeholders. It does not think adjudicated water allocation is the solution.

PRAAGS believes a California Water District is the sustainable solution for the basin. Why? A California Water District can contract for supplemental water, build water distribution systems, sell bonds for water projects (with voter approval) and assess landowners according to zones of benefit. Most importantly, rural residents will share equally with other landowners in all water gains, but agriculture will pay the bill.

A California Water District unites decision-making powers with financial responsibility. California Proposition 218 requires that those who pay must first vote to approve any assessment, and they also will elect the district’s directors.

PRAAGS supports the county’s urgency ordinance but not long-term centralized SLO County governance.

The basin should be managed locally by its own California Water District and board of directors.

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