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Legislation for a proposed Paso basin water district goes to the governor 

After several rounds of amendments, preliminary legislation for the formation of a North County water district has passed both the state Assembly and Senate, and is headed for the governor’s desk.

AB 2453, carried by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, is the legislative platform necessary for the creation of a proposed water district atop the ailing Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. The district, along with the bill blazing its trail, has been the subject of conversation and controversy in recent months, during which stakeholders above the basin have been battling over the particulars of voting and board structure. The district has also found opposition.

After certain amendments created during a political tug-of-war brought a recent period of flagging support from the district’s two main champions—Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions and Paso Robles Overliers for Water Equity—and the board of supervisors, the three bodies have again given the bill their blessing.

The district’s initial formation vote would have required a simple majority of landowners within the district boundary—a modification brought by critics of the original vote-per-acre scheme—after which the proposed district would go through the vetting process at the County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Now, the proposed district will go to LAFCO after receiving support from only 10 percent of landowners within the district boundary.

In a statement to New Times, Achadjian expressed optimism that the bill will win support from Gov. Jerry Brown.

“We know that Gov. Brown recognizes the seriousness of California’s drought and will value our efforts to have a local management plan in place,” Achadjian said. “This legislation was brought to me and supported by the Board of Supervisors and the city of Paso Robles, and I hope it becomes law very soon.”

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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