I recently attended a two-day water law conference in Sacramento. The conference featured information about “Water Supply, Regulation and Policy in a Time of Ongoing Scarcity.” This was easily one of the most informative conferences I have attended. The up-to-date information and legislative history surrounding the ongoing issue of water rights in the State of California put key issues in perspective for me and gave me insight into actions we need to take as a city and a county in the future. It prompted me to bring several items before our City Council during the June 16, 2015 meeting.
We have great water managements plans in place, but we need to carry them further so our citizens and people outside of our city will be confident we are serious about addressing water needs now and in the future. I propose a concise water mission statement:
“Paso Robles will be the leader in the responsible use of water.”
The City of Paso Robles also must remain committed to participating in cooperative water partnerships with other agencies while working to secure and maintain multiple sources of water to cover the city’s future water needs. We must make sure our water sources in the future include a share of ground water plus water from the Salinas River and Lake Nacimiento. We must continue our conservation efforts and develop new ways of harvesting recycled water and storm water runoff.
The City also must look to the design features required in homes as the City grows to its build-out capacity of approximately 44,000 residents. We expect 4,000 to 5,000 homes to be built in the next 20 years. Now is the time to make sure they are ready for future droughts. I have recommended to the Council that a Water Element be added to the City’s General plan and that new standards be developed for drought resistant construction techniques, landscaping, recycled water delivery systems and adequate water storage and distribution facilities.
Now is the time to prepare for all of the droughts ahead. And we can do it and still remain a beautiful community. Saving water doesn’t mean we have to cover everything with gravel. I call upon our local landscape professionals and associated business such as Lowe’s, OSH and Home Depot to come alongside us as we show people who are removing thirsty lawns and greenscaping how to replace them with attractive drought resistant designs and vegetation. I call upon vocational arts programs in our school district and at Cuesta College to put emphasis on strategies and designs for business to save water while remaining prosperous and attractive And I call upon the City of Paso Robles to lead by example by replacing browning greenery with attractive dryscapes.
I shared my vision of a beautiful, water-efficient city with my fellow Council members June 16th. I am hopeful they will respond enthusiastically to make it a reality. By doing these things we can not only get through the current drought but also prepare for future droughts, all while complying with the still-evolving legislation being enacted by our State representatives in Sacramento.