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CALM creates new water fee rate calculator 

Landowners and rural residents can calculate proposed water assessments

Map of Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

A map of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. About 60-percent of the basin is in San Luis Obispo County and 40-percent in Monterey County.

– Citizens Advocating for Local Management of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, or CALM, has created an online rate calculator. The new tool estimates proposed assessments for landowners and rural residents of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin to become compliant with the new state law – Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The calculator can be found online at www.calmthebasin.org.

The calculator uses the proposed rates that were approved by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 18.

The rate structure includes three components:

1) Every parcel pays a small equal portion
2) Every parcel pays a portion by land use
3) Every parcel pays by acreage use (irrigated agriculture is expected to make up 89% of the acreage-based funding)

The new calculator guides landowners through the criteria to help everyone estimate their tax.

SGMA became state law effective Jan. 1, 2015. In March 2016 there will be a special election in which voters will choose how best to comply with the act.

CALM said that it wants voters to be informed on the specifics. Understanding how the rate structure impacts each individual is a key component to evaluating options for who will manage water.

The options are:

1. Local control – AB2453 water district – governed by an elected board of landowners and registered voters.
2. The County Flood Control District – governed by the San Luis County Board of Supervisors
3. State of California – Governed by state agencies.

“The calculator is designed for rural residents and agriculturists alike to look at how SGMA compliance will specifically impact them,” said Randy Diffenbaugh, a member of the CALM Steering Committee. “We believe local control in the form of the AB2453 water district is the best way to move ahead which gives small, medium, and large landowners along with registered voters an equal voice in the decision.”

Whether voters choose the County Flood Control District or local control in the form of the AB2453 Water District, the rate structure is proposed to be the same. Rates from the State of California have not yet been released.

The Paso Robles Groundwater Basin District, as proposed, is for rural properties and does not include property in the city limits of Paso Robles or Atascadero, or property receiving water from a special district, such as Templeton and Heritage Ranch.

 

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.