Public symposium on drought is in the works for SLO County

The county of San Luis Obispo is taking the first steps in planning a public symposium on the drought.

County supervisors Frank Mecham and Adam Hill said they will work with Dan Buckshi, county administrator, to begin planning the event that is expected to last two or three days.

There is no timeline for when the symposium might take place, and the exact topics of discussion are yet to be decided. “A lot of the details still have to be worked out,” Buckshi said.

However, Mecham said he wants to bring in state drought experts to discuss such subjects as water conservation tips, the role the state and federal governments play in managing drought and drought relief efforts being undertaken by the county.

“We are long overdue for a countywide water conference,” Mecham said. “This is the county’s most pressing issue, not just right now but into the future.”

The state is in the third year of a prolonged drought and drought conditions in the county are rated as exceptional, the most severe level of dryness. Rainfall totals are about 34 percent of normal levels.

In March, supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming a local emergency due to the drought. Such a proclamation requires monthly updates by supervisors. The dry conditions are causing localized water shortages, reduced agricultural output and extreme fire danger.

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