Supervisors looking for ways to restore Paso Robles groundwater basin

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider having a feasibility study conducted to find ways to stabilize the Paso Robles groundwater basin.

County Public Works staff is recommending that supervisors develop requests for proposals to look at alternatives for stabilizing the basin which is in decline. Options that would be examined include conservation, finding new water sources and recycling.

Attempts by the county manage the groundwater basin have generated considerable controversy and has put residents in the basin at odds with farmers, particularly vineyard owners.

In March, supervisors adopted a groundwater management plan and appointed a blue ribbon steering committee made up of stakeholders in the basin in order to find solutions. The committee will give a status report at Tuesday’s meeting.

Public Works staff does not know how much it will cost to conduct the feasibility study. Money for developing the proposals would come from a flood control fund.

The Paso Robles groundwater basin covers 790 square miles, extending from Santa Margarita north into Monterey County and from the Highway 101 corridor east to Shandon.

The basin is classified as being overdraft. Water levels in many areas of the basin are dropping and residents tell supervisors they are afraid of losing their homes if their wells run dry.

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