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Rural Paso Robles water group elects officers 

Rural Paso Robles Landowners’ Group PRO Water Equity Elects Officers

Group seeks fair and equitable allocation of groundwater for all basin users

PRO Water Equity, Inc., Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Overliers for Water Equity, has incorporated and has elected their Board of Directors.

“Water levels are dropping throughout the majority of the groundwater basin, regardless of whether it’s a wet or dry year”, said Sue Luft, President of PRO Water Equity, Inc. and property owner in the El Pomar/Almond Drive area. “The groundwater basin cannot supply all of the demands – it is in overdraft.”

The Board of PRO Water Equity, Inc. and its shareholders are all landowners within the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. The Directors are Luft; Nat Sherrill, Vice President, El Pomar/Almond Drive area; CC Coats, Secretary, Hog Canyon; Jan Seals, Treasurer, Geneseo/Union Road; Dianne Jackson, Geneseo/Union Road; Maria Lorca, Creston; and Lindsay Pera, El Pomar/Almond Drive.

“Every day, we learn of someone else who has lost their well, had to lower their pump, and/or is trucking water to their home”, said CC Coats.

“Every day, we learn of someone else who has lost their well, had to lower their pump, and/or is trucking water to their home”, said CC Coats. “The basin requires both long and short-term solutions. Immediate emergency measures are needed to stabilize the basin to stop more wells from running dry.”

PRO Water Equity is seeking a fair and equitable allocation of groundwater for all Paso Robles Groundwater Basin users through proper management of the basin.

“A water district is needed to manage the basin, but it must represent all landowners, no matter the size of their property,” said Jan Seals.

PRO Water Equity is giving presentations throughout the basin. Please contact Elaine Hagen at 237-9069 for meetings in your neighborhood or visit www.prowaterequity.org to learn more.

Who is on the PRO Water Equity Board of Directors?

Read their biographies

Sue Luft, President

Sue Luft, President

Sue Luft, President

Sue lives in the El Pomar/Almond Drive area east of Templeton, overlying the Creston sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. She and her husband own a ten acre parcel which had a good, high flow rate well when they purchased the property in 2000. Since then, the water level in their well has dropped over 90 feet. Being on the edge of the groundwater basin, a deeper well will mean drilling into fractures in the Monterey Shale with low flow rate, uncertain production, and poorer water quality. Sue retired from 23 years of owning an environmental engineering firm to grow wine grapes and enjoy life. Little did she know that her education and experience with water resources would lead to a full-time volunteer effort. Besides serving as Chair of the County Water Resources Advisory Committee, and as an At-Large member of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Management Plan Blue Ribbon Steering Committee, Sue was previously co-manager of a small mutual water company. She is active in land conservation; lives in a passive/active straw bale home; and hand-tends their nearly-dry farmed, head-trained zinfandel vineyard. She loves camping, photography, and spending time with her two German Shepherd Dogs.

Nat Sherrill, Vice-President

Nat Sherrill, Vice-President

Nat Sherrill, Vice-President

Nat lives in the Almond Drive area of Templeton, where he is an overlier of the Creston sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. There are three legal residences on their ranch, the wells serving two of which went dry in early 2012. One had been in service for 35 years, the other for 75 years.
For 35 years Nat worked as an engineer for the US Geological Survey in the Bay Area. He and his wife, Jan, also operated a winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains for 25 years. Most of their grapes came from the Central Coast. In 1995 they bought their 80 acre ranch in Templeton, and moved here a year later. Jan has a large herd of alpacas, while Nat works part time at the Amtrak station in SLO and as assistant manager of the Templeton Farmers Market.
Nat says, “Basin residents, small farmers, and large growers face very serious water problems which will only be solved by hard work and serious give and take.”

CC Coats, Secretary

CC Coats

CC Coats

CC and her husband Mark–along with three horses, their dogs and cats–live in the Hog Canyon area North East of Paso Robles. Their property overlies the Estrella sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater basin. Since moving from Santa Barbara County and purchasing the property in 1998, there have been many well issues. In 2002 the pump had to be lowered 40 feet, and in 2004 a new well had to be drilled. Then in 2011 the “down hole” pump had to be lowered 60 feet and replaced with a lower output pump due to the loss of water inflow.

CC is a former Quality Technician/Document Control Administrator for a local aerospace company, and has also been a draftsman. She left the industry to pursue her passion–horses. Being a Certified British Horse Society Instructor she works, trains and shows horses, as well as giving lessons. In addition CC, works part time collecting farm/agriculture data for the USDA.On a daily basis, she sees and hears how small farming operations are being affected dramatically by the water issues in California, especially our local area. Her own well experiences, her current work, along with her professional background of following proper channels to affect and document changes, allow her a broad perspective concerning the issues that we face.

Jan Seals, Treasurer

Jan Seals, Treasurer

Jan Seals, Treasurer

Jan lives east of Paso Robles in the Geneseo/Union Road area, overlying the Estrella sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. The level of her well has dropped 70 feet in 10 years. Jan spent her professional career as a production designer and production manager for design and software companies. In 2002 she and her husband left the rat race for a rural life in Paso. They currently share two acres with two cats and three dogs. A lifelong love of the outdoors keeps Jan hiking, bird watching, gardening, playing golf and bocce, and taking the dogs to the beach. Her volunteering has ranged from Master Gardeners, to therapy dogs, puppy raising for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and now advocating water rights for groundwater overliers.

Dianne Jackson, Director

Dianne Jackson

Dianne Jacksonr

Dianne lives east of Paso Robles in the Geneseo/Union Road area, overlying the Estrella sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. One and a half years ago, her well at 350 feet, went dry. Dianne was the personal assistant to actress Marion Ross of the “Happy Days” television series for 11 years. From attending the Emmy’s to taking Marion’s dog to the vet, it was an experience filled with ever changing gifts and challenges that she wouldn’t trade for the world. Marriage moved Dianne to owning a finish hardware business, which then led to managing an exclusive hair salon with a celebrity clientele, which meant dealing with the high powered studios to negotiate services for the film industry. She has lived in Paso Robles for 13 years, having tired of the over populated, over polluted San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. Moving to Paso Robles was a leap of faith for Dianne. She worked in several local tasting rooms and finally found her home in a local ranch supply store where she does purchasing and sales.

Maria Lorca, Director

Maria Lorca

Maria Lorca

Maria Lorca has lived in SLO County for over 50 years. She now shares her time between a Paso Robles residence and her 240 acres near Creston. Water levels continue to drop in her ranch well, which overlies the Creston sub-area of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. Maria is an alternate member of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Steering Committee, served on a previous SLO County Blue Ribbon Committee focused on rural land use, and is a founding member of the Creston Advisory Body. She has a degree in Agricultural Journalism; a master’s degree in Mass Communications, English and Education; and California and California Community College teaching credentials.Her professional career spans many areas: teacher for junior high and college, real estate agent, law firm researcher, business manager for a small law firm, owner/developer of a multi-use condominium project, and partner in a small cow-calf operation. Though she no longer raises cattle, she still cares for a treasured old bay mare. Her broad business background and personal life give her the ability to view the water issue from multiple perspectives.

Lindsay Pera, Director

Lindsay Pera

Lindsay Pera

Lindsay Pera lives on Almond Drive in East Templeton and is a Creston sub-area overlier. In spring of 2010 she was one of the rural residents surprised to find no water when she turned on the hose. What once was a prolific well with enviable 300 GPM flow, is now at its bottom. As a mom and homesteader she is concerned for her family, her property, and this county that she and her family love.
Lindsay is a mom and entrepreneur who escaped the traditional corporate world only to continue doing what she loves –supporting non-profits and socially conscious businesses while integrating regenerative learning and processes for wellness and sustainability. In 2012 she co-founded Wisen (www.wisenapps.com), a tech company that creates online and mobile tools for goal setting, health, and wellness. Lindsay’s “corporate” experience–from her start at a holistic spa, to Accenture (Andersen Consulting), a mobile start-up, then a 100 year old insurance company–had her working at the intersection of people and information: providing a bridge between business and development, IT and stakeholders, clients and sales, and generally striving to serve the goal of optimal use of knowledge and information resources across contexts and platforms. Her specialties include collaborative communications, dreaming, visioning, meeting facilitation, creative problem solving, knocking almonds, and generally getting her gratitude on.

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Paso Robles Real Estate Agent:
Nicolette Harley

Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 835-9643

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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.