Paso Robles News|Saturday, June 3, 2023
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Opinion: Companies guzzling our water have no regard for the community 

To The Editor:

I am awestruck by the county, who we elected in good faith, caving to these large corporate vineyards/companies who seem to be under the impression that all the water below the surface is only theirs to use. A practical and partial moratorium was granted which shouldn’t be broken solely because of what they have in the pipeline.

Our water is precious and is depleting very quickly with the advent of these new vineyards. Granted, they do bring in newfound money to the county, but inevitably, the people surrounding these vineyards will run out of water and many cannot afford to drill deeper wells. The county will then be faced with the loss of taxable revenue from homes which can no longer be lived in. The North County cities and townships will also be hit with the lack of water. This problem isn’t going away anytime soon and we can’t afford to misuse this natural resource.

Roll Global, AKA Justin Winery, AKA Fiji Water, AKA Paramount Farms, AKA POM Wonderful juice, etc. has been staking and wiring and preparing the remainder of there holdings on Creston Road for the last few weeks in order to slam in the thousands of new plants to finish there project. I believe they should be halted until we have sufficient water to squander on their project. Remember, the water they use on their grapes is water out of your daily use (showering, cooking, etc). Of course, some small vineyards will be affected but until the basin is replenished, we must all make sacrifices.

This also pertains to builders in the North County–they had a moratorium years ago down in Santa Barbara County which caused problems, but the people stuck by the moratorium until things got better. We can do the same. Projects that have already had water meters issued can continue, but no new permits should be issued until we are on better footing. Remodels would be accepted, but rezoning would not.

Our main issue is that the vineyards in the area are using up the most water and cooking the numbers to suit their agendas. These large vineyards are owned by out of town corporations who don’t give a damn about what goes on in our community because they don’t live here. They think the water is an unlimited supply. Granted they drill very deep wells but just remember the old saying, “That water seeks it’s own level”, and the well water we rely on will seek the deep running water and we will be left with a empty basin.

In conclusion, the companies consistently putting in more vines, and in turn, apathetically guzzling our water, have no regard for our community and believe their financial means have earned them entitlement over our land. We, as the community affected, must work together to utilize the water we still have. We must make sure it is not squandered on new grape plants, and that these additional plants are forced to wait until our basin fills back up. Election time will also be crucial for us–keep aware of the candidates that are for and against expansion of vineyards and vote accordingly. Also keep in mind the candidates who own a vineyard themselves.

Sincerely yours,

Les Orlick
Templeton, California
Special thanks to Tyrian White-Khan.

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