The Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS) is a new official association formed by agricultural leaders interested in finding and implementing solutions for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. The alliance’s primary purpose is to work cooperatively with the agriculture community, rural residents, elected officials and agency representatives to secure a stainable groundwater supply in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.
“Our first step is to create broad base recognition among the agriculture industry that there are declining water levels in parts of the basin,” said Jerry Reaugh, owner of Sereno Vista Vineyards and Chairman of PRAAGS. “Then collectively, with a unified voice, we can create proactive solutions.”
PRAAGS is operated by a seven person Board of Directors: Reaugh; Dana Merrill, Mesa Vineyard Management, Vice Chairman; Steve Sinton, Avenales Cattle Co., Secretary; John Crossland, Vineyard Professional Services, Treasurer; Kent Gilmore, Golden Hills Farm; Steve Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines and Matt Turrentine, Grapevine Land Management.
PRAAGS Board members have been active members throughout the process participating in the creation of the PRIOR agreement, the Groundwater Management Plan, Blue Ribbon Committee and voluntarily using a series of best management practices to balance and reduce agriculture water use.
“We recognize that change is necessary. Our goal is to manage our limited water resources while keeping agriculture economically viable, it’s a fine balance,” said Dana Merrill, Mesa Vineyard Management and PRAAGS Vice Chairman.
PRAAGS has committed the financial resources to hire technical and legal support to develop an action plan of solutions. The group’s interests are in-line with the Blue Ribbon Committee’s recommendations of which, forming a water district is the highest priority.
“A water district provides an official entity for landowners to partner with the County, City of Paso Robles and other municipal users on groundwater issues,’ said Steve Sinton, Avenales Cattle Co., and PRAAGS Secretary. “Forming a water district creates the necessary infrastructure needed for landowners to effectively support groundwater solutions.”
If you are interested in learning more please call 805-465-6355 or go to www.praags.org.