Everyone is talking about “the Paso Robles drought”. Of course it has been very dry here the past couple of years, and truth be known, it’s not so unusual. In fact, whenever I sell a house to someone living out by Lake Nacimiento, I tell them that this is a “flood/drought area”. If you look at the average rainfall in Paso Robles for the past 150 years, you’ll see a definite pattern of heavy rainfall every 5 to 10 years surrounding some pretty dismal rainfall years.
Lake Nacimiento can really fill up quickly and Monterey County worried that they wouldn’t be able to release the water quickly enough, so a few years ago they doubled the size of the spillway. Now the lake is so dry cattle are grazing on it. It’s happened before. And the lake will flood again.
Trouble is, the county and state now wish to impose some new regulations on water usage here which, when the floods return, will still be in place, even though these regulations will no longer be needed. These regulations will impose restrictions, fees, and set up new government entities to regulate how people use water here.
What I see as the best alternative is mostly common sense. Yes, we now have lots of vineyards which use lots of water. So let’s just restrict the planting of more vineyards. At least for the time being. And let’s ask all the people of North San Luis Obispo County to use less water, to conserve.
A few years ago in Atascadero we were a bit short of water and the Atascadero Mutual Water Company asked the people of the city to conserve. That’s all. They put it in the paper, in newsletters and on a few signs around town. And there was conservation of our water supply by almost 30%.
My vote is to give the people who live here the opportunity to respond to this “crisis”, the Paso Robles drought, like they always respond to every other crisis this community or this country has ever seen. They will conserve. And let’s ask the property owners not to plant grapes for a while. We currently have enough grapes right now anyway.
And we’ll let our good Lord take care of the rest. He will bring the rain again.