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Los Osos CSD optimistic about impact of rain on groundwater supp - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Los Osos CSD optimistic about impact of rain on groundwater supply

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Water tanks in Los Osos. (KSBY photo) Water tanks in Los Osos. (KSBY photo)

The community of Los Osos has been in a Stage III Water Emergency for some time, but recent rainfall could change that. 

With all the rain lately, Community Services District officials say the groundwater condition is looking up. 

Over the past couple of years, more than 7,000 Los Osos residents have been asked to use only 50 gallons of water per person per day, but that's something officials say could change. 

"My husband decided that he would rig these barrels up, ran some line into the front bathroom," Gretchen Clark explained as she showed off how her family is using rain water to flush the toilets. 

"We're using 12 gallons per person a day," said Clark. 

That's far below what Los Osos residents have been asked to use. 

"We only have groundwater as our water source. We don't have any surface supplies like most other entities do," said Marshall Ochylski, Los Osos CSD Director. 

"We wanted to do what we could to save the aquifer which is in danger from salt water intrusion," said Clark. 

Next month, CSD water engineers will be testing the groundwater basin to see what impacts the rain has had. They say there may be a possibility of moving from a Stage III Emergency to a Stage II Warning. 

"With the rain, it's been very very positive so it's looking good, we just don't have the data to support that yet," said Ochylski. 

The consumption regulations would increase to 174 gallons per household per day.
 
"Well, if we are going to move up with the water brackets, that is a good sign, a positive sign about the health of our water supply. We personally as a household will still continue to conserve as much as we have," said Clark. 

And that's how many neighbors feel who have quit watering.

"We haven't watered this long for months now, and you can see how green it is. We've lost three trees in the backyard because I cut off the sprinkler system," said Tom Pleasants. 

Water officials still want residents to continue to conserve water to ensure the water supply is sustainable.

The new numbers will be released in April. The Los Osos CSD's long-term plan includes drilling wells on the east side of town which would help with the sea water intrusion problem. However, those wells won't be up and running for a few years.

This Monday, February 27, there will be a groundwater forum for the "fringe areas" of Los Osos. It's intended for those with individual wells that are agricultural land owners. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Los Osos Middle School.

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