Saturday, May 27, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 44

Weekly Poll
Should SLO County ban marijuana cultivation in the California Valley?

Yes. It's bad for the environment and has no place in Cal Valley.
They should allow very limited cultivation.
No. Cal Valley should be treated like the rest of SLO county when it comes to marijuana.
It's legal! Get over it and stop picking on Cal Valley!

Vote! | Poll Results

RSS Feeds

Latest News RSS
Current Issue RSS

Special Features
Search or post SLO County food and wine establishments

New Times / News

The following article was posted on May 17th, 2017, in the New Times - Volume 31, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [] - Volume 31, Issue 43

County becomes groundwater agency for Paso and Santa Maria basins


On May 16, the SLO County Board of Supervisors approved resolutions to become Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) for large swaths of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin and fringes of the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The aquifers are just two of six local basins that the county is assuming some management and financial responsibility for, to the tune of $2 million in the next fiscal year, according to the county’s recommended 2017-18 budget.

Passed by the state in 2014, SGMA requires that users of stressed groundwater basins across the state form GSAs by June 30, and write sustainability plans by 2020.

The county’s decision to subsidize SGMA compliance for landowners in unincorporated areas remains the subject of intense debate. In April, the board voted 3-2 to make a policy change that effectively removed the financial burden of SGMA from landowners and allocates general county funds to pay for it instead.

“I’m happy you’re stepping up for those landowners,” Shandon landowner Ann Myhre said to the board. “This is what we have been asking for from the beginning of the passage of SGMA.”

The county will share management responsibility of the Paso basin—which at 790 square miles is the biggest in the county—with the city of Paso Robles, San Miguel Community Services District (CSD), the Heritage Ranch CSD, and the newly formed Shandon-San Juan Water District.

Another water district, the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston (EPC) Water District, is still in the process of forming and hopes to be involved as a GSA, even though it will miss the June deadline. If let in by the county and other GSAs, the EPC Water District would provide 33 percent of Paso basin management funding. If it’s left out, the county would take on an increased 57 percent cost share of what’s expected to be a multi-million-dollar effort over the next 20 years.

Residents and supervisors asked county staff for an itemization of where the SGMA funds will be coming from and what the budgetary trade-offs are. The county’s budget hearings will take place June 12 to 14.