Paso Robles News|Wednesday, June 7, 2023
You are here: Home » Opinion » Letter: Disturbing trend in rhetoric from water district opponents
  • Follow Us!

Letter: Disturbing trend in rhetoric from water district opponents 

To the editor,

I am the chairman of PRAAGS (the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions), but I am submitting this letter as a private citizen.

I completely agree with Ms. Douglass’ Letter to the Editor on Nov. 18. Recently I’ve seen a disturbing trend in the rhetoric coming from Supervisor Debbie Arnold and other water district opponents. Are they just cheap political campaign tactics or a more troubling sign of intentional distortion of facts?Letter to the editor

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, the day after the Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Arnold was on KPRL. Her characterization of the Nacimiento pipeline project was far from correct. She said, “the county was the lead agency in organizing the cities that were interested in paying for a pipeline”. County Board of Supervisors acting as the Flood Control District were not leaders in getting the pipeline done just like they have not been leaders on any issue that would deliver new water sources to the Paso Robles Basin. The genesis of the pipeline came from the mayors of Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. The mayors promoted the benefits of the pipeline and eventually convinced the voters of City of Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton and City of San Luis Obispo to approve and fund the building of the pipeline.

The County Board of Supervisors acting as the Flood Control District’s involvement only came after everything was approved by local voters when the County did act as the construction manager. The Nacimiento Pipeline is a great example of local people and local government getting together to build a project for local benefit. The County just watched as this happened and for Supervisor Arnold to claim the Nacimiento Pipeline as a great achievement of the County’s Water District is either a disingenuous campaign tactic or an intentional distortion of facts.

On the same show and at the Supervisors Hearing the previous day, Supervisor Arnold said the County has been doing a good job in managing the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. If there is one thing that almost everyone in the Basin can agree on it is that the Board of Supervisors acting as the Flood Control District have done a horrible job managing the groundwater basin. They have done nothing to develop new water sources and they have done nothing to develop infrastructure to prepare the basin for this drought.

In summary, the County’s Water District, as Supervisor Arnold likes to call it, has achieved nothing. No projects other than a handful of studies which many don’t believe, no plans for or funding for projects and most importantly the County’s Water District has never delivered a drop of water to a rural resident, landowner or farmer in the rural Paso Robles Basin. This is an absolute failure on the part of the Board of Supervisors acting as the Flood Control District – not an achievement.

Forming the Paso Robles Basin Water District is the only way to guarantee local control of our water and to plan and prepare for the future. It gets the County Board of Supervisors out of managing our water – which they have done a horrible job of and it keeps the State from taking control of our water.

Creating an independent public water district governed by a nine-member locally elected board will comply with SGMA and keep the State of California from taking control of our water. Even if the County’s Flood Control District continued to manage the basin, the County would have to hire additional staff and open an office in North County so annual expenses would be about the same. We need to do what’s right or our community and ensure the people who live here are making decisions about our groundwater.

It is time to get the Board of Supervisors – the majority who don’t live in North County – out of managing our water. They have done a terrible job. It is also time for Supervisor Arnold and the other members of the Board of Supervisors to stop distorting the facts. On the same KPRL show and at the Supervisors Hearing, we hear Supervisor Arnold repeatedly using words like complex, confusing, and complicated in describing the proposed Water District. This is surprising because she’s been involved in this issue from the start and she’s experienced with politics and government both locally and in Sacramento. She testified, multiple times, against the AB 2453 District in Sacramento.

Is this just a cheap campaign tactic to scare voters or is Supervisor Arnold “confused”?

Jerry Reaugh
Paso Robles rural resident and farmer

Write a letter to the editor

The Paso Robles Daily News welcomes letters to the editor. They may be sent by clicking here >> Submit a letter to the editor to the Paso Robles Daily News, or email editor Skye Ravy at

Share To Social Media