In an effort to protect groundwater for homes that already exist within the Paso Robles groundwater basin, county supervisors are considering an ordinance that would prohibit new lot splits (and the resulting new homes with wells) within the groundwater basin.
There are already at least 1,500 undeveloped lots overlying the basin, each of which is entitled to a well that would not be affected by the proposed ordinance.
No one wants a countryside scattered with worthless homes, abandoned because water isn’t available. For existing wells that are already into the rock of the basin “floor,” digging a deeper well will not bring reliable water. If there is water, the $30,000 to $50,000 cost of digging a new well may be unaffordable to the owner. A home without water is worth nothing at all.
Prohibiting lot splits means potential lost profit for developers, but no cost to taxpayers or current water users.
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Groundwater must be reserved for people who already depend on it and those who have an existing right to it. In a groundwater basin that’s near or in overdraft, we can’t ask people to conserve water while giving the gift of lot splits to others.