I have tremendous admiration for the pioneers who invested so much to build the world-class Paso Robles wine industry: such an amazing accomplishment!
Today, these same people are apparently ready to just give away everything they worked so hard to build. They are planning to create a California Water District controlled by the largest land owners, which is rapidly becoming the large agricultural corporations interested only in maximizing their profit. If Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions succeeds, there will be a land-buying frenzy. This will be the one opportunity for our local wine producers to cash out.
Once they acquire sufficient acreage, they will take ownership of the water basin by appointing their own directors to manage the district and start eliminating their competitors just like they did with the Kern Water Bank in the San Joaquin Valley.
Our first priority must be a temporary moratorium on new wells. Our present water use is unsustainable. Revenues raised from increased vineyards would be a temporary windfall at the expense of long-term damage to our aquifer and greatly reduced future revenues.