Winery water waste

Paso RoblesJanuary 31, 2014 

During breakfast one day last week, the engine sounds from our neighboring winery’s water tanker doing dust control caught our special attention. We counted that they used at least three truck refills to water the mile or so of their dirt roadways, which is an amount of water in total that could supply roughly three domestic households for a month.

While many rural residents have had their wells run dry and are having to purchase water by the truckload because they can’t afford to drill deeper wells, this winery is watering the dirt. And I’m sure they aren’t the only winery doing the same.

The 2004 permit for this winery required its half-mile entrance road to be paved, and its parking areas to be chip-sealed. Apparently the county chose after-the-fact not to enforce those requirements, because those improvements have never been made.

This extravagantly wasteful practice and mindless disregard for the welfare of neighbors demonstrates once again that the unregulated use of a common resource doesn’t work.

Let’s hope that any future water basin management plans contain a comprehensive water conservation element that prohibits such worthless uses of our water, and severely limits raw dirt roads.

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