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Nipomo's water woes could impact construction projects 

A severe water shortage in Nipomo could complicate plans for several ongoing construction projects, including an assisted living facility that broke ground less than three months ago.

According to a recent report by the Nipomo Mesa Management Area Technical Group, the Nipomo area remains in a severe water shortage for the second year in a row, triggering Stage 4 water shortage response measures, which will likely be declared by members of the Nipomo Community Services District’s board of directors at a meeting later this month.

“[The board] will most likely consider moving the district to Stage 4,” Mario Iglesias, Nipomo’s CSD’s general manager, said. “If we move into Stage 4, then we would need to reduce our groundwater pumping by 50 percent.”

While Iglesias said that the CSD was already at a 47 percent reduction thanks to previous conservation efforts, and a deal to purchase water from neighboring Santa Maria, he said the board also has the power to institute several other additional, optional conservation measures should the district move into Stage 4. One of those options would be to cease processing applications for water service on ongoing commercial construction projects. The CSD already opted to halt processing new applications last year, when the area entered Stage 3 water shortage restrictions.

Should the board opt to suspend current applications, the decision would impact a number of ongoing commercial projects in various stages, including The Oaks at Nipomo, a planned 112-bed assisted living and senior living community. Officials broke ground on the project on May 19. Currently, the financial backers for The Oaks have already sunk about $3 million into the project, according to Iglesias. 

Representatives from Quiring, the construction company behind The Oaks project, did not return requests for comment from New Times.

The Oaks at Nipomo isn’t the only project that could be impacted should the board choose to freeze applications. Iglesias said there were fewer than 20 such projects in a similar situation.

In the end, Iglesias said, it is just one option, and it will be up to the board to make the call.

“The focus is on the groundwater basin’s health,” he said. “The board, at its discretion, has to measure its response based on the need.”

The Nipomo CSD’s board of directors is slated to meet July 13 to take up the issue. 

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