Water Ordinance Extended

Urgency Ordinance to protect dwindling groundwater supply

Tracy Lehr, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter, tracy@keyt.com
POSTED: 11:10 PM PDT Oct 08, 2013    UPDATED: 10:16 AM PDT Oct 09, 2013 
TEMPLETON, Calif. -

Vineyard owners and ranchers and other homeowners in northern San Luis Obispo County are dependent on a single source of groundwater.

It's called the Paso Robles Groundwater basin. But this year about 40 people complained the county about wells running dry.

The state doesn't regulate groundwater so supervisors stepped in.

On Tuesday, they voted to turn a 45-day urgency ordinance into a two-year ordinance.

Chief administrative officer Dan Buckshi said it's not a moratorium or a ban on drilling water wells.

He said it limits the planting of new crops and new construction unless there is a water offset.

That means water has to be conserved in order to add to water needs.

Rancher Greg Grewal calls it unfair, since it does not limit Paso Robles water usage.

He said he won't be able to built another bathroom and home on his property, even though homes are being built in Paso Robles.

Bushshi said this is a county ordinance, not a city affair.

Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS) wants to see minor adjustments for people with vested rights.

Those are people already with planting and construction plans. A meeting will be held to discuss vested rights Nov. 26.