Letters to the Editor

Local governments must use powers to stop abuse of water resources

Strawberries are one of the many crops grown in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
Strawberries are one of the many crops grown in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. MCT

Our city and county governments located in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are ignoring the water elephant in the dining room. While they are imposing restrictions on residential water usage, they are leaving untouched the groundwater (aquifer) overdrafting and permitting the conversion of nonirrigated lands into high-intensity water usage crop producers with no restrictions.

Due to this incompatible land usage, the aquifers are either depleted or becoming so, and domestic wells are drying up. It is time for the local governments to use their inherent powers under the public trust doctrine and reverse the current conversions and abuses, oftentimes at the hands of producers and entities from other states or countries.

This valley does not have the capacity and climate to sustain the current abuses that are permitted through governmental inaction and overreaching users. We are a coastal desert, incapable of supplying the needs to these nonconforming uses.

Tom Allen, Nipomo

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