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State Water Board lifts Lake Nacimiento water usage restrictions

Lake Nacimiento levels rise with recent rainfall
Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 07, 2023

The California State Water Board lifted state restrictions on the Nacimiento Water Project, San Luis Obispo County Public Works officials announced Friday.

This would allow Nacimiento Water participants, including Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo, the freedom to decide how to use their water within the county without violating state restrictions.

The Board removed the acreage limits that were set in the 1950s, which limit the County of San Luis Obispo to apply Nacimiento water to up to 7,000 acres of urban and suburban land and 500 acres of agricultural land, according to officials.

Officials said the county consistently exceeded those allotments. However, since Monterey County officially holds the permit, any fix would require Monterey County to submit the request to the State Water Board.

“This new order from the State Water Board is a monumental day for water resources in San Luis Obispo county and the culmination of years of hard work,” said Public Works Director John Diodati. “I would like to thank Monterey County for considering the unique issues in our county and working with us as a collaborative partner, and the State Water Board for understanding how beneficial this change would be to the water agencies in San Luis Obispo, particularly the Paso Robles groundwater basin. I look forward to seeing how water agencies use this opportunity to balance the basin and enhance both the residential and economic needs in our county.”

The new change would allow the Nacimiento participants to better utilize their water by selling what they don't intend to use on an annual basis, according to the press release.

“Lake Nacimiento is one of few supplemental water sources available to water agencies within SLO County and maximizing its beneficial use is an important step to improving water availability within the county and management of available water resources,” said Kirk Gonzalez, Paso Robles City Water Resources Manager. “We greatly appreciate the County’s efforts and coordination with Monterey County to make these corrections.”

The Nacimiento Water Project began operations in 2011 after the construction of the $176 million, 45-mile pipeline from Lake Nacimiento to San Luis Obispo was completed, officials said.

Click here for more information on the Nacimiento Water Project.