Los Osos Water Well to Switch to Monitoring

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 23, 2022

Los Osos’ concerns over the status of its groundwater basin will get some added monitoring power, after the Community Services District Board approved repurposing an old water well.

The LOCSD Board of Directors voted to change so-called LA 13, located between Ferrell Avenue and 7th Street, according to a staff report.

The “Basin Management Committee” or BMC, is a committee made up of representatives of the three water purveyors — LOCSD, Golden State Water Co., and S&T Mutual, plus SLO County Public Works. It was formed after a court settlement in the mid 2000s ordered that a management plan for the water basin be written and methods developed to halt seawater intrusion into the basin, which is Los Osos’ sole source of drinking water.

The basin has been in a “Level III” state of overdraft since about 1995 and is considered by a County water committee to be among the most imperiled community water systems in SLO County.

“The BMC,” the report said, “is actively looking to expand the groundwater monitoring program in order to improve their data collection capabilities in the lower parts of the groundwater basin. Cleath-Harris Geologists has identified three inactive existing wells that could potentially be modified.”

LA 13 is just the first well to be identified for the switch over. The LOCSD also hired Filipponi & Thompson Drilling Inc., to do the work. How much it will cost was not identified in this report, however, the LOCSD as lead agency, will pay all the bills and then charge to other BMC agencies a pro rata share of the costs.

On another water note, the LOCSD is continuing with a possible project to build a water pipeline from Los Osos down South Bay Boulevard to the Chorro Valley area (Hwy 1 corridor), where they hope to connect to Morro Bay’s Chorro Valley Pipeline, which delivers State Water Project drinking water to Morro Bay.

The LOCSD is hoping to be able to purchase some of Morro Bay’s unused SWP water or tap the County’s nearly 20,000-acre feet a year unallocated allotment of State Water.

That additional source would be used to supplement the groundwater basin and at this time, and be tapped during wet winters when SWP delivers all of its contracted amounts of water. That would relieve some of the pumping in the Los Osos basin, and allow for added recharge from the rain.

State Water is the preferred added source for the LOCSD, because it arrives fully treated and ready to drink.

That potential pipeline project is still in the early, design stages of the development process.

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