Use more tools
The Cambria Community Services District issued a mostly punitive notice prohibiting the use of drinking water for irrigation with “violation fines” starting at $50.
How about balancing notices with an expanded motivational water saving rebate program? Examples are: treatment units, softeners, heaters, dishwashers and recycling systems.
Comments are: 1) Change reverse osmosis treatment. Reverse osmosis discharges three to four gallons of waste water compared to one gallon of treated water. 2) Demand- based softeners save more than timer softeners. 3) Electric circulation heater kits can improve timely acquisition of hot water. 4) High efficiency dishwasher designs are available. 5) Various recycling configurations convert “basin water” for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes. Catch basin and storage tank usage are a form of recycling.
Cambrians have traditionally saved water with modified landscaping, flow restrictors, recycling and water saving appliances.
The intent-to-serve letter discussions appeared inconsistent with the CCSD water shortage notice. The burden is to present an acceptable motivational plan during normalcy. If it can be shown sufficient water has been saved annually over at least 10 years, a few intent-to-serve letters may be warranted. The highest-ranking winning applicants would have the best building plans for saving water and the longest waiting period. The empty lot owner pays property taxes for nothing.
Will the property-tax loaded CCSD propose higher rates when less water is used? If so, an overhead “sequester” is needed.
Roads not taken
As a current Cambrian homeowner there are a number of questions that plague me given our desperate water shortage. Now that I no longer reside in Cambria, perhaps my questions and concerns will get more attention from the Cambria Community Services District than they did when I was a resident and candidate for the CCSD board.
Over the past decade at least, the CCSD board and staff have been more concerned with the interests of non-resident lot owners than current residents and home owners. WHY?
In 2011 some citizens and I got together and organized a panel called “Water You Thinking?” in which we brought together experts with ideas for making Cambria’s water supply sustainable. Unfortunately, the CCSD board and staff had no other concerns than how they could circumvent our California environmental laws to implement a desalination plant which would not only be extremely expensive but would harm our river and ocean environment. The CCSD spent millions in pursuit of this effort until the Coastal Commission ruled against the endeavor. WHY?
Our panel in 2011 brought forward several less-expensive methods for securing our water supply. Some of these were even mentioned in the water report commissioned by the CCSD. For example, water could be stored off stream in several basins on Santa Rosa Creek in rainy seasons, or in tanks. In addition, recycling of grey water could be implemented at least for large users. The existing infrastructure could be repaired and monitored to prevent loss of water from faulty equipment. This was not done. WHY?
None of the alternative ways of conserving water have been implemented in the past three and a half years. If even half the amount of money invested in the desal effort had gone in this direction, we would have water to sustain us through the current drought. WHY SO LITTLE ACCOMPLISHED?
I’m sure most Cambrians are aware of the classical Bible story about the land of Egypt.
There were seven lean years and seven good years. The wise Pharoah stored food during the lean years so the people would not go hungry during the dry seasons. Folks came in from lands all around during the famine.
Some of us took pictures during the rainy seasons in the past three years of the millions of gallons of water spilling out into the ocean at the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek during the rains. Half-way up the horizon the sea looked brown from the rain water. How sad that our leaders had not troubled themselves to find ways of storing some of this water in the five or six natural basins in which it could have been held. WHY?
Wake up, Cambrians. Ask your leaders, why? Whose interests are they serving? WHY?
Cambria deserves leadership and employees that puts the needs of the residents and the beautiful forest, river and ocean FIRST priority. Cambrians are the brightest and most savvy folks I’ve ever known. Step forward and demand that your elected officials and employees (no matter how high styled their titles) serve your interests. WHY NOT?
Valerie Bentz, Ph.D.
Farm tour a hit
There have been a number of farm tours conducted in San Luis Obispo County, but to my knowledge, there has never been one that covers Cambria-area farms exclusively. Until Oct. 14, that is, when the Cambria Historical Society led 40 folks on a day-long bus trek up Santa Rosa Creek Road, over to Green Valley and then ending up in Harmony.
Maybe you are thinking there isn’t enough agriculture around here to fill an all-day tour. Well, our bus trip proves there is — and then some.
To that end, the Cambria Historical Society would like to thank the local farmers and ranchers who opened our eyes to the long history of agriculture in this region and the important role it plays in our economy. We also appreciate the delicious food and wine we were served along the way.
Many thanks to our hosts, John, Renee and Aaron Linn, Linns Farm; Mike and Carol Broadhurst, Dragon Spring Farm; George and Beth Kendall, Dos Pasos Ranch; Susie and Ellis Bassetti, Bassetti Vineyards; Bob Soto, Soto Ranch; and Chuck and Kim Mulligan, Harmony Cellars.
We would also like to thank our tour guides and Cambria ranchers, Bob Soto and Joy Fitzhugh for sharing wonderful stories and insights about what life is like on a family farm.
We are so lucky to be surrounded by such bounty.
Susan McDonald, farm tour chairman
Cambria Historical Society