The Cambrian

Closure of Rodeo Grounds site causes frustration in Cambria

Notices posted at the Rodeo Grounds Road site indicate that the center is closed until at least Aug. 4.
Notices posted at the Rodeo Grounds Road site indicate that the center is closed until at least Aug. 4.

There’s been frustration and confusion on Rodeo Grounds Road since the Cambria Community Services District suspended — until at least Aug. 4 — distribution of nonpotable water from its property there.

Cambrians still can buy nonpotable water from the Clyde Warren ranch on San Simeon Creek Road, he confirmed Tuesday, July 29. The access point is close to Winsor Construction’s yard, but the firm doesn’t sell water (although it is among the contractors that deliver it).

There’s been a veritable parade in and out of that location since the temporary closure of the Rodeo Grounds facility was approved Thursday. Tim Winsor said Tuesday that traffic was so heavy Friday that his truck drivers had a hard time getting into the firm’s yard.

“But that’s OK,” he said. “We have to stick together and make this work. This is ugly,” he said of the extreme drought conditions.

According to the CSD’s emergency drought declaration, customers are forbidden to use potable water from the tap on landscaping or for other outdoor purposes. District directors may discuss that restriction at their Aug. 21 meeting, according to General Manager Jerry Gruber.

The district closed the Rodeo Grounds facility primarily to determine whether pumping from the so-called SR-1 well along Santa Rosa Creek — a well that has been providing nonpotable water to Cambrians and their landscapers — is lowering water levels at a key downstream monitoring well called Windsor Bridge East (WBE).

Levels at that monitoring well dropped below the state-required minimum 3-foot level last week, which gave impetus to the distribution site’s closure, whether temporary or not.

That is especially important now because a “tracer test” for the emergency water-supply project is underway at the district’s well field along San Simeon Creek. To keep test results as accurate as possible, the CSD isn’t supposed to pump from the San Simeon aquifer during the 67-day test.

With no other option, the CSD is pumping from the Santa Rosa Creek aquifer despite the monitoring-well level, Gruber said. The district is negotiating with state water officials for emergency permission to continue pumping from the creek until the water level at the monitoring well drops to 2 feet.

Gruber said they understand the situation.

“This is an emergency. We have no choice, he said, This (Santa Rosa Creek aquifer) is the only source of water for the community right now.”

He said the governor’s Office of Emergency Services is working with the state Water Resources Control Board to expedite the emergency ruling.

Cambria residents had been allowed to take water from the Rodeo Grounds site and use it to irrigate landscaping and for other nonpotable uses. As of July 24, nearly 7 acre-feet of water had been pumped from that location.

On July 25, paper notices in plastic sleeves on directional signs at the Rodeo Grounds Road distribution site informed users that the center was closed, at least until Aug. 4 — and perhaps after that, depending on what district directors decide at their meeting.

Earlier, district directors had been mulling a cutoff at Rodeo Grounds in order to keep as much water as possible in the Santa Rosa Creek aquifers, upper and lower.

For now, as long as the Warren Ranch supply holds up, Cambrians seeking nonpotable water can get it there or from landscapers or contractors who haul in water for their clients.

For a CCSD list of nonpotable water delivery service vendors and pressure washing services, click here »