The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, is a new state law that requires nearly all groundwater basins in California to have their own management agency in place by June 30, 2017 and an approved, sustainability plan with new regulations by 2020 or risk having the State of California take it over.
Property owners and well water users on the “fringe” of the existing, defined Los Osos Groundwater Basin came together Monday night to hear if they will be lumped together with the vast majority of water users in the town as one, giant basin or be excluded and therefore exempt from SGMA.
“We’re trying to get you out”, San Luis Obispo County Public Works Director Wade Horton told the property owners at the community meeting, “we’re trying to show that the fringe area part of the basin doesn’t meet the requirements to be part of SGMA at this time, that’s our goal, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Even if the county study supports changing the boundaries of the Los Osos Groundwater Basin in their favor, well water users were put on notice that meters are coming, regardless.
“Folks in the eastern part of this basin might get ready for the possibility, its a real possibility, that meters are going to be required, I’ll just be blunt about it”, said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, “I’m not saying it has to happen, if we can get what we need done without making it happen, that’s great, but the nature of groundwater regulation in this state right now is heading toward metering of wells.”
More and more Central Coast communities are dealing with the reality of SGMA, and what it will mean to their future water use as California’s historic drought continues.
“I really don’t like it, but they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do”, said fringe property owner and well water user Deborah Deis, “the population here keeps increasing and that puts stress on the amount water that’s available.”
San Luis Obispo County is planning to hold another community meeting on the future of the Los Osos Groundwater Basin before the end of the year.