Gene Zannon 0

An Open Letter Urging an Equitable and Representative Voting Structure for the proposed Cuyama Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency

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The working group to form the Cuyama Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is currently meeting with the goal of establishing the guidelines for the GSA. These parameters will be included in a Joint Powers Authority that will create the Cuyama Valley GSA. The GSA will consist of 6 entities: 4 California counties-Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Kern, the Cuyama Water District(formed by large agricultural interests in the eastern part of the Cuyama Valley) and the Cuyama Community Service District, a small service district within the boundaries of the New Cuyama townsite.

The GSA will be responsible for developing one or more Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for the Cuyama Valley. The working group is now deciding on the proposed voting structure for the GSA. It was initially proposed as one vote per entity, but the Cuyama Water District is now lobbying for their District to have a disproportionate and inequitable 5 votes on the proposed GSA.

The final working group meeting is scheduled for February 22, 2017, when a voting structure will be negotiated among the GSA entities. This is a closed meeting not open to the public. Following March 10, 2017 when the Cuyama Water District board is seated, this matter will come before the Board of Supervisors of each of the participating counties for a vote in preparation for the June 1, 2017 filing deadline to submit to the State for approval by June 30, 2017.

Our strong recommendations as concerned citizens, residents, and constituents of the Cuyama Valley are the following:

  • We request that all participating Counties support the position of Santa Barbara County to ensure a truly equitable voting structure for the GSA that protects the interests of all stakeholders, not favoring one group, and provide adequate checks and balances needed to achieve the most desirable Groundwater Sustainability Plan possible.
  • We request that the capacity to finance the establishment of the GSA does not by itself permit weighted voting within the GSA; that many other factors must be included when discussing weighted voting such as governmental representation of state recognized disadvantaged communities, affected residents and landowners within the basin, as well as environmental, conservation, and recreational interests.
  • We request that residents be assured of voting representation on the GSA, and that this be stipulated in the Joint Powers Authority that will form the GSA.

We therefore ask the Supervisors of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Kern Counties to actively support the development of an equitable voting structure that provides equal voice to all residents and interests in the Cuyama Valley.


The undersigned, residents, stakeholders, and constituents of the Cuyama Valley.

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