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Group of Rural Residents and Farmers Agree on Water District Structure

By Leah Masuda, KCOY Central Coast News Reporter, LeahMasuda@kcoy.com
Published On: Jan 06 2014 07:34:20 PM CST
Vineyard
NORTH SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif- -

Two groups moved another step forward for an area of the Central Coast desperate for water. Theres has been an agreement between home owners and farmers on a new water district in north San Luis Obispo County.

It took the two groups 8 weeks of meetings to come up with a compromise. "Fundamentally we have been unrepresented for the last 57 years, there has been no initiatives basically nothing that helps rural residents and agricultural people with there water issues," said Jerry Reaugh.

Jerry Reaugh of the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions or PRAAGS represents the agricultural leaders in the north county. Sue Luft of PRO Water Equity represents the rural home owners.

"What we are working on is a governance structure that will allow us to develop solutions to fix this, but it won't fix things over night," said Luft. The groups have already been discussing some solutions it could bring to the table if a district is formed. "The ideas range from bringing in supplemental water to the extent that it’s available and having incentives for conservation measures," said Luft.

The structure is broken down to 9 district members. "3 of the board members would be elected by rural residents, by registered voters, and then there would be 6 for landowners based on acreage," said Luft.  

According to the group 40 acres or less is considered a small landowner which includes homeowners. "Everyone get's to vote twice, everyone get's to vote as a registered voter and then everyone gets to vote in that grouping," said Reaugh.

A petition to create a water district will go out shortly it will need 50% of landowners to begin the process with the Local Agency Formation Commission or LAFCO to approve a ballot measure. PRAAGS says it has 6 months to get enough signatures. Hearings with LAFCO are expected to start mid-summer. At the same time the groups will be working to pass special legislation for the district.

 

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