San Luis Obispo County’s reservoirs have seen an uptick following a series of recent storms. Here’s a look at how the following reservoirs are doing as of Thursday, February 23, 2017, according to the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department.
Images captured by Landsat 8, which launched atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, show how much winter rains have filled Lake San Antonio in Monterey County and Lake Nacimiento in San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties, as of January 30, 2017.
After five years of dry conditions, January 2017 was the rainiest in two decades, but meteorologists and state and local officials say it’s far too premature to say the drought — and the water conservation measures that have come with it — are over. In fact, many say preserving resources should remain a priority, whether or not Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency declaration stays in place.
Paso Robles City Council members voted Tuesday to form a groundwater sustainability agency that will be accountable for managing basin water within the city’s jurisdiction. The agency was created in response to the state Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires management of basins in overdraft.
Water levels at Lopez Lake have dropped so drastically because of California’s drought that the sensor recording the elevation is — once again — above water. San Luis Obispo County Public Works is expected to remedy the problem next week, but in the meantime, lake levels have to be measured by hand.
The Arroyo Grande City Council approved a new set of “triggers” for water shortage emergencies at its meeting Tuesday night that would require residents to conserve an additional 5 percent more water than their current targets, as well as instate a building moratorium on new development. But the moratorium will not go into effect until Lopez Lake water levels fall below 10,000 acre feet.
The Arroyo Grande City Council approved increases of 11 percent and 10 percent to its water and sewage rates respectively at its meeting Tuesday night, meaning residents will soon be paying about $16 more on their bimonthly water bills.
A Santa Barbara-based water group has sued San Luis Obispo County saying it issued three agricultural well permits in the Paso Robles groundwater basin, including one to Justin Vineyards, without the proper environmental review.
After weeks of hinting about it, Lopez Lake rangers have officially closed the lake’s boat launch ramp to large boats, though small, nonmotorized boats such as kayaks and canoes can still be hand-launched.
The Nipomo Community Services District will soon consider whether it will declare a stage 4 water-shortage emergency, though general manager Mario Iglesias said if it does, residents won’t likely have to deal with any additional water restrictions beyond those already in effect.
The Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Tuesday night to place a measure on the Nov. 8 general election ballot that would ask voters to allow the purchase of state water in the event the council declares a water emergency in the city.
Though many areas of San Luis Obispo County received closer to average rainfall, most of the county remains in an “exceptional” drought and it would take a record rain season to erase the four-year deficit.
The Pismo Beach City Council considered deactivating its Tier 1, drought-related building restrictions because increases in state water deliveries have increased the city’s total water supply to above its moratorium trigger level, but it ultimately decided against dropping the current restrictions because of the questionable health of Lopez Lake and the Santa Maria groundwater basin.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to disband an advisory committee for the Paso Robles groundwater basin just days before ballots on the formation of a management district were to be mailed out.
The future of the troubled Paso Robles groundwater basin will soon be shaped by residents and property owners in a crucial series of ballot measures that will arrive in their mailboxes next month. At stake is the ability of rural residents to stay in their homes and for North County’s economically vital wine industry to sustain itself. Hundreds of rural homeowners dependent on wells for their water have watched levels in those wells drop precipitously. Irrigated agriculture, which uses nearly 70 percent of the groundwater pumped out of the basin, also is threatened. Eighty percent of irrigated agriculture in the basin consists of wine grapes.