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Water basin groups reveal proposed district map 

map of paso robles water district

Two water basin groups composed of large landowners and rural residents revealed proposed maps for the Paso Robles Basin Water District, proposed legislation, and a draft petition to the state agency that creates special districts.

The Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, known as PRAAGS, and the Paso Robles groundwater basin Overliers for Water Equity, known as PRO Water Equity, made the announcement in a press release this week.

Their petition for the formation of the Paso Robles Water Basin District to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) is reprinted  below. The groups now need to collect signatures from landowners comprising of 51 percent of the acreage in the basin boundaries.

Their proposed state legislation to create the district is also reprinted below. It gives the agency authority over the ground water and lays out how the district would hold elections. The package of documents includes detailed maps showing the boundaries of the proposed water district. The boundaries encompass most of rural Paso Robles, but excluded the city limits. It goes north to the county line, but excludes the town of San Miguel. It goes south past Creston. It goes east past Shandon, but excludes the town. It goes west to the city limits, but does not include the rural westside.

Proposed Bill—Governance of Proposed Paso Robles Basin Water District

Chapter ___of Part 4 of Division 13 of the California Water Code

Section ___0. Application of chapter; district defined; intent. This chapter shall apply only to the proposed Paso Robles Basin Water District. For purposes of this chapter “District” means the “Paso Robles Basin Water District”, the boundaries of which shall be established, and may be modified from time to time, by the San Luis Obispo County Local Agency Formation Commission. The Legislature finds and declares that the provisions of this Chapter are enacted in order to provide a governmental framework for the District to balance the supply to and consumption of groundwater within the basin underlying the District, and thereby pursue stabilizing that basin and sustaining its resources for the beneficial use of all who use water within the District.

Section ___1. District elections. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, or the bylaws of the District, all elections for directors within the District shall be conducted in accordance with this chapter and the composition of the board of directors shall be as follows:
(a) There shall be a total of nine (9) directors, each of whom shall be qualified for office by being a person who holds title to land within the District or a person authorized to vote in elections by landowners as provided in Section ___2 (d). A person may only be a candidate for director for one office.
(b) Six (6) of the directors shall be elected by landowners within the District as otherwise provided by Article 1, Chapter 1 of this Part 4 provided, however, each voter shall be entitled to cast one vote for each acre owned by the voter within the district, provided that if the voter owns less than one acre then the voter shall be entitled to one vote and any fraction shall be rounded to the nearest full acre. For purposes of election of said six (6) directors only, landowners within the District shall be divided into three classes, that being: (i) holders of title owning a total of four hundred (400) acres or more (herein called “large landowners”), (ii) holders of title owning a total of forty (40) acres or more but less than four hundred (400) acres (herein called “medium landowners”), and (iii) holders of title owning a total of less than forty (40) acres (herein called “small landowners”). The large landowners shall elect two (2) of the six directors at large, the medium landowners shall elect two (2) directors at large and the small landowners shall elect two (2) directors at large. Candidates for such six (6) directors may be within any of such three classes.
(c) Three (3) of the directors shall be elected by registered voters within the District at large.
(d) All directors, whether qualified under paragraphs (b) or (c) of this Section ____1, shall reside within the District, within two (2) miles of the District boundary, or shall live within the boundaries of the City of Paso Robles, the Atascadero Mutual Water Company, the Templeton Community Services District, the San Miguel Community Services District, or the San Luis Obispo County Service Area 16.

Section ___2. Conduct of District elections. District elections shall be conducted in conformance with the Uniform District Election Law (Part 4 (commencing with Section 10500) of Division 10 of the Elections Code) and the laws generally applicable to districts created and operated pursuant to this division, provided the following shall apply:
(a) Separate ballots shall be prepared and separate elections shall be conducted for those director positions which will be elected by resident voters and for those which will be elected by landowner voters. Notwithstanding Section 10555 of the Elections Code, these landowner voter elections and resident voter elections shall be conducted simultaneously.
(b) District elections may be conducted by all-mailed ballots pursuant to Section 4108 of the Elections Code. Separate voter lists of resident voters and landowner voters eligible to vote within the District shall be prepared and maintained according to applicable provisions of law. Separate all-mailed ballot elections shall be held for the directors to be elected by resident voters and for those to be elected by landowner voters.
(c) The directors elected upon formation of the District shall hold office pursuant to Section 10505 of the Elections Code, and as therein further provided the director positions elected by large landowners shall be divided into two director term classes, the landowners elected by medium landowners shall be divided into two director term classes, the landowners elected by small landowners shall be divided into two director term classes, and the director positions elected by registered voters shall be divided into two director term classes, such “director term classes” being only for purposes of implementing this Section __(c).
(d) Notwithstanding other provisions of this division or the Uniform District Election Law, elections by landowners as provided at section __ (b) shall be carried out as follows:
(i) If more than one person or entity are shown as the holders of title, any such co-tenant may vote on behalf of the co-tenancy, or if multiple co-tenants vote, the voting rights shall be divided based upon the respective recorded interests of the co-tenants;
(ii) If the holder of title is a trust, any trustee of the trust may vote on behalf of the trust;
(iii) If the holder of title is a corporation, the president, a vice president, secretary, or other duly designated officer may vote on behalf of the corporation; and
(iv) If the holder of title is a limited liability company, any managing member may vote on behalf to the limited liability company.
(v) An officer or partner with managerial responsibilities of a legal entity not listed in Section ____2 (d) (i) through (iv) above may vote on behalf of such entity.
(e) Biennial elections of directors shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in October of each odd-numbered year. [Add any additional language needed for timing of the formation election/election of initial board. County Counsel/Clerk reviewing]
(f) The voters list used for purpose of such elections shall be based upon the last equalized assessment roll prepared by the county assessor, corrected to reflect, in the case of transfers of land, those persons who as of the 45th [need to check on 45th] day prior to the election appear as owners of record in the office of the county assessor, and which shall be conclusive evidence of ownership and acreage for purpose of carrying out such elections. The county assessor shall be compensated for all cost incurred in determining such ownership and acreage information and providing same to the county clerk.

Section___3. Groundwater Management. The District shall have the authority afforded to local agencies as provided in Part 2.75 (commencing at section10750) of Division 6 of this Code, and any and all successor provisions to said provisions, consistent with the requirements and limitations of applicable law. The creation of District is not intended to and shall not modify the powers of San Luis Obispo County and the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, carried out consistent with applicable law, to manage and protect groundwater resources within San Luis Obispo County, including the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

PETITION FOR FORMATION OF THE PASO ROBLES BASIN WATER DISTRICT

(pursuant to Government Code Sections 56700 and 56860; Water Code Section 34165)

(1) State that the proposal is made pursuant to this part.
The proposal is made pursuant to Part 3, Division 3, Title 5 of the California Government Code (commencing with section 56000, Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000).

(2) State the nature of the proposal and list all proposed changes of organization.
To form a Water District pursuant to Division 13 of the California Water Code (commencing at section 34000, the “Principle Act”). The proposed name of the new district is the “Paso Robles Basin Water District”.

(3) Set forth a description of the boundaries of affected territory accompanied by a map showing the boundaries.
See accompanying map attached as Exhibit A. Attached as Exhibit B is a preliminary description of the boundaries of the proposed District, and a specific legal description of the boundaries will subsequently be submitted to the Local Agency Formation Commission, County of San Luis Obispo (“Commission”).

(4) Set forth any proposed terms and conditions.

(a) In order to encourage participation in the proposed district to effectuate enhanced management of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin (Basin), it is requested that the Commission include the following condition upon formation of the proposed district: To the extent consistent with applicable law, that any lands that are not developed based on reliance on groundwater or any surface supplies that may be made available by the District and which lands remain undeveloped will: (a) not be subject to any assessments or charges to pay costs associated with importing supplemental supplies; and (b) will be subject to assessments or charges associated with the administration of the proposed district established through the Proposition 218 process, not to exceed 3. 33% of such assessments or charges levied upon lands that are so developed. Smaller parcels may be subject to a per parcel charge established consistent with the Proposition 218 process.

(b) That the Commission provide for procedures for the nomination of candidates for the initial Board of Directors, to be elected in conjunction with the Formation Election, consistent with the Water Code. It is anticipated that special legislation will be introduced and enacted to provide for a “hybrid” Board of Directors that would be made up of landowners elected by both landowners and residents within the District.

(c) That the District not be formed unless an assessment ballot process pursuant to Proposition 218 is successfully conducted approving said initial assessment for administration of the District.

(d) That the Commission include the following conditional upon formation of the proposed district: the District shall not export water from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

(5) State the reason or reasons for the proposal.
The Basin is one of the few major agricultural areas of the State that is not within organized water or other similar type of district. The Basin has experienced significant declines in recent years. The purpose for forming the District would be to provide a public agency with the powers and abilities to, among other things, (i) to develop, construct and operate facilities to import available water supplies to help stabilize the groundwater conditions in the Basin, and (ii) to advance groundwater management and conservation programs and thereby pursue stabilizing the Basin and sustaining its resources for the beneficial use of all who use water within the proposed District. Consistent with existing law, the District would have the authority to develop a groundwater management plan in accordance with the procedural requirements of Part 2.75 (commencing at section 10750) of Division 6 of the California Water Code (aka AB 3030 Plans). It is envisioned that certain activities may be carried out in cooperation with other public agencies, including, but not limited to, the County of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the City of Paso Robles, and San Miguel and Templeton Community Services Districts. This District will provide a governmental structure for local control and management by the landowners and residents within the proposed District.

(6) State whether the petition is signed by registered voters or owners of land.
Owners of land—The Petition is to be signed by holders of title to a majority of the area proposed for inclusions in the proposed District (CWC Section 34153).

(7) Designate up to three persons as chief petitioners, setting forth their names and mailing addresses.
The Chief Petitioners, acting for and on behalf of the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS), a non-profit unincorporated association, and being its primary officers, are (along with their mailing addresses).

Jerry Reaugh, 3200 Branch Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Dana Merrill, 1220 Beaver Creek Lane, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Steve Sinton, 7420 Camatta Creek Road, Shandon, CA 93461

(8) Request that proceedings be taken for the proposal pursuant to this part.
It is requested that proceeding to form the Paso Robles Basin Water District be initiated pursuant to the above referenced Part 3, Division 3, Title 5 of the California Government Code.

(9) State whether the proposal is consistent with the sphere of influence of any affected city or affected district.
The proposal may overlap the sphere of influence of the City of Paso Robles.

(10) Additional applicable items from the Commission form Petition:

(a) The County of San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District possesses authority to perform some similar functions as the proposed district.

(b) The names of all other affected counties, cities and districts: County of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo Flood Control and Water Conservation District, City of Paso Robles.

(c) The territory proposed for inclusion within the District is inhabited (12 or more people).

(d) The proposed boundary for the District may split lines of assessment; however, the intent is not to split assessor parcels.

(e) The proposed boundary will create several islands to enable those jurisdictions to continue to manage the groundwater resources under their existing authority. Other islands may be created by property owners who do not wish to be part of the District and are excluded by LAFCO.

(f) The District will initially be financed by an assessment approved by the land owners within the District boundary. The future activities of the District will be financed by the land owners within the District, as determined by the Board of Directors.

(11) Additional Items required by Water Code Section 34165:

(a) The name of the county in which the district would be located in San Luis Obispo.

(b) The acreage included in the proposed district, as illustrated at Exhibit A, is approximately 300,000 acres.

(c) The place of the principle business (address) of the proposed district presently is PO Box 1499, Paso Robles, CA 93447

(d) The potential sources of supply to supplement groundwater available within the district include, but are not limited to, unassigned supplies from the Nacimiento Water Project, the State Water Project, and any available supplies from the Salinas River. The common source of supply for all of the proposed district is groundwater, which the proposed district would seek to enhance through projects to import supplemental supplies and groundwater management activities.

Signatures of Petitioners
[Petitioners’ signature pages and Certification of Circulator following]

For original documents, visit For http://www.praags.org/the-petition/

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