Cambria’s water supply “will be exhausted sometime between October and December,” according to information the services district provided to representatives of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
That detail is included in a drought update to be presented to the water board in San Luis Obispo on Sept. 25, the same day that directors of Cambria’s services district are to hold their regular monthly meeting.
The water-supply estimate, however, doesn’t factor in the possibility of significant rainfall by year’s end — or any rain, for that matter — nor does it account for the extraordinary efforts many Cambrians have put toward conserving water, according to Jim Bahringer, president of the Cambria Community Services District’s Board of Directors.
According to Justin Smith, who heads up the district’s water department, levels in source wells along San Simeon Creek are in the average range now. However, levels in district wells along Santa Rosa Creek Range “are at dangerously low levels,” he said. “Right now, they’re at about 19 feet. They’re usually at 50 feet or so.”
That’s partially because water from the San Simeon wells has been off limits for nearly two months during a crucial “tracer test” designed to show how long it will take treated water from a new emergency treatment plant under construction to get from the injection well to the district’s supply wells. That test is nearly complete, said Bob Gresens, engineer for the town’s services district.
Lisa McCann, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s environmental program manager and section manager for watershed planning and protection, will update board members on area drought conditions at next week’s meeting. That includes Cambria.
McCann’s report lists some of the actions taken by the CCSD, including the submission of various permit applications for two different waste discharge requirement orders from the water board.
The new plant is designed to treat brackish water drawn from beneath land on San Simeon Creek Road that’s owned by the district. The blend of salt, fresh and treated waste water from the sewage-treatment plant would go through a multi-stage filtering and treatment process. The treated water from the plant would go back into the ground to flow toward district wells and the creek; the briny residual water would go to a pond, where large fans would hasten the evaporation process.