Over the Hill

Paso Robles Phil predicts water basin district will be approved

Phil Dirkx
Phil Dirkx

I predict the proposed Paso Robles Water Basin District will be duly authorized and approved by the state and the county. The district voters will also approve it. The new district’s directors will then manage and regulate the huge, natural, underground reservoir. It is now being pumped faster than nature can refill it.

Predicting is easy. Being right is hard. If I turn out to be right, I’ll remind you. If I’m wrong, I hope you forget this column.

People do forget. Do you remember what Punxsutawney Phil predicted on Feb. 2? It was in the papers, on TV and on the Internet. He predicted six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil is the subject of one of those tired, old, news stories that gets repeated year after year. He’s an outsized, fury, underground-dwelling rodent. He supposedly predicts whether we’ll have six more weeks of winter or an early spring.

Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day and Phil is a groundhog. He makes his alleged predictions every year near Punxsutawney, PA. Actually many generations of Phils have made the annual predictions since 1887. Wikipedia says they’ve been right 39 percent of the time.

But Groundhog Day was never a big deal where I grew up in western New York state. Sure, we had groundhogs but we called them woodchucks and we never consulted them on the weather. We just recited “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.”

But today isn’t Groundhog Day and I’m just Paso Robles Phil. Nonetheless I predict the Paso Robles Water Basin District will be formed and will regulate the pumping of the basin’s water.

Paso Robles Phil also predicts that the two lawsuits brought by some landowners against the proposed district will lose no matter how many courts they go to.

And I’m not making these predictions just because predicting is easy. I actually believe the district will proceed. The time is ripe. We’re reminded daily that fresh water is precious and getting scarcer and that we’re in a serious drought.

Streams are dry. We see wide expanses of dry banks around lakes. Local governments are restricting water use. More lawns are going brown. People are starting to think the unthinkable.

Paso Robles Phil also predicts that even with a functioning Paso Robles Basin Water District, the basin may never be fully restored. Some water-bearing formations may have been dewatered and possibly compacted.

Also, global warming is real and already here. We can expect longer, hotter summers, and dryer winters with insufficient rain. The basin may never recover fully.

Phil Dirkx's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Paso Robles for more than five decades, and his column appears here every week. Reach Dirkx at 238-2372 or phild2008@sbcglobal.net.