I attended the recent Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions meeting regarding forming a California water district. I found disingenuous and misleading their use of graphs which showed that urban and rural residential growth in water use since 1981 outpaced that of agriculture. Using different scales made it look like the problem was entirely due to urban and rural residential growth. You can see the graphs at the PRAAGS website. The number you really want to know from that same data is that irrigated agriculture is using 67 percent of the total water drawn from the basin, while urban is at 18 percent, and rural residential is at 12 percent.
In addition, the PRAAGS presentation made it seem as if 51 percent of the landowners signed the petition, it would go forward. Actually, it is signatures from owners of 51 percent of the land. Right now, there are something like fewer than 40 owners that hold enough acreage to make up that 51 percent. How many of those owners are nonresidents? Foreign corporations? In theory, the PRAAGS petition needs only those 40 owners to bring a California water district petition forward which would affect the lives of the thousands who share the basin.
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