The Final Chapters of Paso’s GWSP

Paso Robles Public Works Director Dick McKinley presented the last remaining chapters of the City’s Ground Water Sustainability Plan to the Paso Robles Ground Water Agency which consists of the City Council. The GWSP has been presented and approved in portions after it was made available for review
to the public.

During public comment several citizens spoke on the surplus of water in the area. City officials agreed that water levels are currently acceptable and that there is no “overdraft.” However, according to California’s Sustainable Groundwater Sustainability Act, drafted in 2014, local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies must be formed for all high and medium priority basins in the state. McKinley said that the restrictive or punitive measures set by the GWSP are currently not in effect.

“The City is not the one making you cut back, it’s a state law that’s making you cut back,” McKinley said. “ It’s called the 20 by 2020 plan.” 

“We have sufficient water for our full build-out plus an additional 4,000 people actually,” Council member Fred Strong said. “But the state is not currently recognizing that.”


Other members of the public chided the City officials for “kowtowing” to the vineyards when it came to water use. McKinley told the Council that large agriculture, including vineyards, uses approximately 70,000-acre feet per year.

The council passed the motion 4 to 0 with John Hamon absent.

An Entrepreneurial Playground

In the gaming world, a sandbox is a place in a game where players can safely converse without fear of being roasted in the depths of a giant Slor or whatever monsters the designers created. In the real world, The Sandbox was founded by Kyle Ashby in Santa Barbara as a meeting place for entrepreneurs and business owners. 

In an effort to diversify the City economy from solely being dependent on agriculture and tourism, Paso seeks to imitate successful business building operations such as the Cal Poly CIE Hothouse. Blake Beltram co-founder of Mindbody came out to support the project as did Judy Mahan, director of the Small Business Development Center. 

The council passed the motion to lease the building at 1345 Park Street and sublease it to The Sandbox. The City also approved a $300,000 loan at 3 percent with the business, to be paid off in 10 years and a separate grant of $99,500 to be forgiven over time.