Got questions about the pipeline tie in?

 Info provided by Deborah Howe, Water Committee

LOCAC has not taken a position on the pipeline project.  This is a Los Osos Community Service District (LOCSD) project and we do not usually comment about their projects but we do have reports from them. 

The LOCSD holds regular open meetings and residents can attend and comment on this or any other item on the agenda.

The purpose of the pipeline and the additional water is to build long term resilience into the water system.  Currently we have all of our “eggs in one basket.”  In the short term, the idea is to reduce pumping from the aquifer in wet years when there will be more water available from the State.  This will allow the aquifer to recharge.  

The water will be purchased from the county.  Currently the county has 25,000 Acre Feet (AF) allocated to them.  They only use 14,000 AF but they must pay for the 25,000.  In wet years, there will be the opportunity to purchase some of this water for Los Osos if the pipeline is in place.  Obviously the cost of this water will be more than the cost of pumping from the ground.  That additional cost will be paid by all three water purveyors, Golden State, CSD and S & T Water.  The water purveyors are incentivized to take this approach because they have not met the metric for sustainable water for the aquifer.  The Basin Management Committee establishes the sustainable yield for the aquifer and then subtracts 20% as a buffer.  Their goal is to only use 80% of the sustainable yield and currently we sit at 84%.  

It would be naive of us to think that there will not be pressure from developers to access this water for their benefit.  That is where the growth management ordinance will be important.  This growth rate must be consistent with the sustainability of the  Basin.  It is currently set at 1-1.3% per year by the county.  The California Coastal Commission (CCC) has not signed off on this rate and so we are in limbo until the CCC decides what they will do regarding the growth rate and the Los Osos Community Plan.  As you may know the CCC has imposed special condition 6 which does not allow any new builds to hook up to the sewer.  This Prohibition Zone has essentially stopped all construction except in those areas where there are septic systems.