No protest count available

Nearly 2,000 needed by July 24 to stop rate hike

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJuly 10, 2014 

As a Cambria Community Services District consultant gets ready to start a crucial flow test to see how long it takes for treated water to flow from one area to another on the district’s San Simeon Creek Road property, officials also are getting ready for a July 24 public hearing on whether CCSD customers will pay more for their water in order to fund an emergency supply project.

On Tuesday, July 8, district General Manager Jerry Gruber said he didn’t know how many protest letters CCSD had received. He had been out of town for five days the week before, he wrote in an email reply, and right after he sent the email, he was to go to a meeting in San Luis Obispo. Nobody else at the district office was authorized to release the information.

On Monday, July 1, Gruber had said the district had received 56 letters officially objecting to the proposed rate increase. Nearly 2,000 protests are needed to stop the increase.

Some constituents have banded together to encourage others to file those protests, saying the plant is too expensive.

One organizer, Tina Dickason, said at the district Board of Directors meeting June 26, “This project is fraught with flaws … we’ve been hoodwinked for a project that may never see the light of day …Yes, I am protesting it. Many people are.” 

She also questioned how, during the current drought in which Cambrians’ water use is severely restricted, the district will be able to supply the community with enough water when, during the tracer test, the town’s supply will be coming primarily from wells on Santa Rosa Creek.

According to district water-distribution statistics for May 2014, 19.39 acre feet was provided by San Simeon Creek wells and 18.88 acre-feet was taken from Santa Rosa Creek wells, for a total of 38.27 acre feet. 

District customers really are cutting back on their water use: In May 2013, CCSD distributed 68.45 acre feet (one acre foot equals nearly 325,900 gallons). 

District Engineer Bob Gresens said 60 to 80 percent of the water being used in the tracer test (tentatively due to start next week) “won’t leave the San Simeon wellfield,” and is to be “pumped in a loop,” recovered and captured by the district’s supply wells. The rest will flow into the creek and the lagoon. 

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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