Most California communities have moved on from drought restrictions. Not Nipomo


While many cities and agencies around California have been casting off their drought-related water rules, Nipomo residents will be stuck with higher rates and watering restrictions.

The Nipomo Community Services District decided to maintain its Stage IV water shortage emergency, which asks residents to turn off their irrigation systems and charges users higher water rates, among other restrictions, at its Wednesday meeting.

The decision comes after a review showed the area’s groundwater wells had not recovered from the years-long drought as anticipated following the rainy winter. Instead, the key wells index (a measurement of several key wells in the area) showed that water levels were still severely low.

“The drought continues to affect our community,” Nipomo CSD General Manager Mario Iglesias said in a news release. “With last winter’s above-average rainfall, much of the state has declared an end to the drought. However, the Nipomo Mesa groundwater basin is slow to respond to rain-water runoff, leaving water levels in a severe condition.”

The district’s Water Shortage Response and Management Plan is based on five escalating stages of drought, according to the release. In Stages III through V, there are “targeted reductions in water use designed to protect long-term groundwater supplies.”

Stage IV, which the district is currently in, represents “severe water shortage conditions” and sets a goal of reducing the area’s groundwater pumping by 50 percent. Between 2016 and 2017, the district reduced pumping by 51 percent.

The district will also continue to refuse new applications for water service until the water shortage emergency is over.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune