We suspect that most Nipomo residents already have formed a strong opinion on the proposed Santa Maria-to-Nipomo water pipeline.
But for those who may still be mulling over the choices, here’s a recap of our position:
We strongly support the pipeline project, which will allow the Nipomo Community Services District to import water from the city of Santa Maria.
We believe that the Nipomo region can no longer afford to rely exclusively on the ground water basin as its sole source of water. The basin already is showing signs of strain in the form of apumping depression, and that will only worsen as the region continues to grow.
The Nipomo area needs a water “insurance policy” and we believe the pipeline is the fastest, most cost effective way to obtain one.
Yes, the $26 million pipeline is expensive. Based on preliminary estimates, the annual cost to homeowners will range from $108 to $227 per year, depending on where they live, though there is an option to reduce the cost by paying in a lump sum.
Whatever the amount, it’s still a financial sacrifice. However, switching course and pursuing another alternative, such as desalination, will be far more costly and time consuming in the long run.
Bottom line: If the assessment vote fails, Nipomo’s need for supplemental water won’t disappear. The problem must be dealt with sooner or later, and we believe it makes sense to move forward with an already approved project, rather than to start from scratch.
However, these are tough economic times, and voters may not see it that way.
If that proves to be the case, we strongly urge all residents of the area — especially those who have been campaigning against the pipeline project — to stay involved in the process, and help the Nipomo Community Services District develop a solution they are willing to support.