Paso Robles Water Integrity Network PAC

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Vote NO on measures A-16 and B-16

If you do not understand this bill vote NO on both measures A-16 and B-16 to defeat it

AB2453 is the legislation that is the heart of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Management Authority. This bill is all about what it can do to you and nothing about what it will do for you. Before you vote make sure you read and fully understand what this bill says the district can do and the powers that you agree to give to the district to control and tax your use of groundwater from your own well.

You can read a highlighted copy AB2453-Highlighted.pdf. This bill is a groundwater control bill which if the district is passed empowers the district to allocate groundwater and specifies exactly how you will be taxed regulated and fined if you violate the district rules.

AB2453 "would authorize the district to develop, adopt, and implement a groundwater management plan to control extractions from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin aquifers, as specified. The bill would also authorize the district to impose groundwater extraction charges, to establish extraction allocations, and to impose extraction surcharges to, among other things, discourage the use of groundwater beyond the extraction allocation. The bill would provide that the moneys collected by the district shall be available for expenditure by the district to carry out its groundwater management functions."

The county already has groundwater regulation power through land use control and its AB 3030 Groundwater Management district, but does not have the power to allocate groundwater, regulate extraction, and charge extraction fees and fines like this bill does.

AB2453 also adds a new district only tax component for "projects." The LAFCO application never defined any projects and their estimated costs. In the proposed district implementation, NO properties, including non commercial residential properties, no matter how small their personal water use is, is exempted from taxation and regulation.

If you do not agree or even understand this bill you must vote NO! on both measures A-16 and B-16 If you do not vote that is the same as voting yes.

Not All Water Stored Underground is Groundwater: Aquifer Privatization and California's 2014 Groundwater Sustainable Management Act

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (“Act”) has been heralded as a “once-in-a-century achievement.” While some have criticized the Act’s relatively modest regulatory goals, long compliance deadlines, and weak enforcement powers, others have hailed the mere accomplishment of the state passing some form of groundwater legislation and celebrated the Act’s stated goals of protecting existing water rights and local control of groundwater supplies. Some groundwater basins may prove to be well-suited for the regulatory scheme imposed by the Act, but equitable regulation of other groundwater basins may be challenged by current and future efforts to privatize these groundwater resources. Specifically, several major basins, including the Paso Robles and the Kern, are threatened by the development of water banking operations which function to replace groundwater resources with privatized, banked water that would undermine the public interest – a threat that the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act may be promoting.

Adam Keats and Chelsea Tu, Not All Water Stored Underground is Groundwater: Aquifer Privatization and California's 2014 Groundwater Sustainable Management Act, 9 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 93 (2016).

Read the Aquifer Privatization" by Adam Keats and Chelsea Tu here.

"Rather than managing various users’ interests and reducing conflict within the Paso Robles Basin, a future GSA dominated by directors supported and elected by medium- and large-landowners would likely enflame those conflicts and exasperate the basin’s already existing problems. Overlyers like smaller agricultural interests and nonagricultural residents could see their interests in percolated groundwater diminished while the GSA authorizes the drawing-down of the aquifer to increase the basin’s storage capacity and enhance the basin’s water banking potential, something that would benefit the larger landowners"

PR-WIN has been warning the public that the real game behind the district formation was water banking. Here is a very timely legal article ON THE PASO ROBLES BASIN you must read before you vote! It verifies everything we have been saying for three years!

Is a Local Agency Already Managing the Basin?

Yes! From the San Luis Obispo County's Paso Robles Basin Website managed by the San Luis Obispo Department of public Works:

"Participation and management is expected to change over the coming years, in order to comply with new state law, SGMA. However, historically the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (Flood Control District) is a local agency which has undertaken groundwater management efforts related to the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin under the provisions of AB 3030, including ongoing monitoring and study of current and potential future basin conditions.  These efforts are led by the County Public Works Department.  The Board of Supervisors for the Flood Control District (which is also the County Board of Supervisors) has created a Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Advisory Committee to advise the Board on basin issues. The City of Paso Robles has also adopted an AB 3030 Groundwater Management Plan."

Read the Paso Robles Basin Groundwater Management Plan here. (By the way, the study does not find the basin in overdraft.)

The State will not step in to manage the basin

District proponents are using the scare tactic that the state will step in if THIS PARTICULAR AB2453 district is not passed. That is an OUTRIGHT LIE! In a letter from Mr. Thomas Howard, Executive Director, State Water Resources Control Board to Mr. Wade Horton, Director of Public Works, San Luis Obispo County, Mr Howard said:

“The State Water Board is committed to providing technical and managerial assistance to support local groundwater management efforts, and would much prefer to see local efforts in achieving sustainable groundwater management before state-developed management approaches are necessary. If intervention does occur, the State Water Board's goal will be to return the basin to local management as soon as local authorities can demonstrate their capability and willingness to manage the basin sustainably.”

Read above, the County has said it already has a local management district in place!

The full letter is posted here:Letter From State Water Board

The Curious Tale of ProWaterEquity

ProWaterEquity started out as primarily a non-irrigator landowners group to offset the political power of the big vineyards in the basin.

Dan Blackburn of Cal Coast News did a series of articles on how ProWaterEquity suddenly switched it position, alienated it's own membership and wound up contributing to pushing AB 2453 against overwhelming landowner opposition. The engineers of the coupe are running for district seats.

  • Little San Luis Obispo County is poised to become a major player in the West’s high-stakes water future, even while local land-owning water users fret about declining supplies stressed by an increasingly voracious agricultural thirst.

    Meanwhile, strategies of a variety of county water users — their anxieties exacerbated by a deep and persistent drought — are competing for control of the biggest component of this county’s water storage capability, the Paso Robles water basin. Read Story here: Is water banking in SLO County’s future?

  • Some of California’s biggest players in water politics have become influential figures in the leadership of a group vigorously promoting formation of a management district for the Paso Robles aquifer.

    The heavy-hitting individuals possess a wide variety of legal and other professional connections to the inner structure of this state’s water industry. Blended with several of the North County’s most prominent vintners and ranchers, a unit has been formed that commands considerable political punch and resources.Read story here: Paso water group wields major-league muscle

  • A surprise voting maneuver — engineered by its leader — divided a local landowners’ group and greased the skids for a plan to create a controversial water district regulating use of the Paso Robles basin.

    Sue Luft’s gambit proved successful, and combined with a well-financed public relations campaign has helped create an illusion of widespread community support for the water district’s formation Read story here: A crafted perception of water district ‘cooperation’