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Dana Merrill of Pomar Junction Winery calls for water district 

Leader of Paso Robles Agriculture Alliance for Groundwater Solutions calls for water district

Dana Merrill of Pomar Junction Winery speaks at Paso Robles Rotary Club

Dana Merrill

Dana Merrill

As one of the leaders of the Paso Robles Agriculture Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, Dana Merrill, owner of Pomar Junction Winery, has a deep appreciation for water issues. He spoke to the Paso Robles Rotary Club on Aug. 1 and addressed the issues. Acknowledging there has been a decline in water levels in the Paso Robles Aquifer, Merrill’s basic message is there needs to be a common strategy for all users of the Aquifer and there should be a Water District to manage and monitor water usage. The Goals of PRAAGS are to establish a Water District responsible to the landowners, to stabilize the water basin, and to ensure the economy in the area is supported, including real estate, wineries, and tourism.

The concept for the District is being developed, based on an elected Board focused on local solutions and strategies, for rural, agriculture, and residential users. The District would only manage water usage, would have landowners vote based on numbers of acre owned, and work to avoid Proposition 218 issues with assessments and taxation. The District would not have enforcement authority. PRAAGS is working out the proposal for a District for formal plan and presentation on a short timeline. The objective is to have an election in Spring 2014.

Large landowners in the District have the financial resources to implement projects in the “so-called” red area to provide water: buy Nacimiento water, recharge the red zone, acquire State water, tap into the Salinas Reservoir, direct delivery, etc. PRAAGS has assembled a small team of water professionals and consultants to provide technical expertise.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.