Paso Robles Groundwater Update

Paso Robles Groundwater Update

An essential resource, water issues are vital across California. Now, here’s what wine country buyers and sellers need to know about the recent Paso Robles Groundwater Town Hall hosted at Robert Hall Winery—starting with the most frequently asked question:
Does Paso have enough water to support current needs and future growth?
Yes. The city has spent 25+ years working to provide sustainable water sources to support the planned buildout approved in the General Plan.
Paso Robles relies on a combination of surface water supplies and groundwater to provide potable water. In a normal year, over 50% of the city's water is supplied by seven relatively shallow wells located along the Salinas River corridor.
All current water sources include:
  • Basin Groundwater Wells
  • River Wells
  • Nacimiento Pipeline
  • Purple Pipe (infrastructure to filter non-potable recycled water for irrigation)

Average California Household Water Use

An average California Household uses between one-half and one acre-foot of water per year for indoor and outdoor use. California receives about 193 million acre-feet of water each year as precipitation (rain and snow), but there is a great variability between regions.

Water Use for Vineyards

A vineyard in Paso Robles AVA can use between zero “dry farmed” to half an acre foot (one acre foot is 326,000 gallons) with calcareous soils on the westside to 1.25 ac-ft or more depending on the need for overhead frost sprinkler applications. The westside has not been included into the GSA by the state because iInformation on the basin in that area is currently limited.

Helpful Background & Terminology

Groundwater (GW)

Groundwater is found beneath the surface of the earth within the zone below the water table in which the soil is completely saturated with water, but does not include water that flows in known and definite channels.

Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA)

One or more local agencies that implement the provisions of the Paso Robles subbasin plan. Or taking action to enforce a groundwater sustainability plan and its fees. A Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is created within a water district to create a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).
Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP)
A management plan developed by the GSAs to provide a framework in managing the groundwater basin sustainably and to meet the requirements of SGMA.
The Paso Robles Area Subbasin of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin is locally referred to as the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.
  • The Subbasin is bounded by the Santa Lucia Range on the west, the LA Panza Range on the South and the Temblor and Diablo ranges on the east.
  • The basin overlies approximately 436,000 acres (681 square miles)
The Basin Plan is the water quality control plan for the Central Coast basin.
Paso Basin Land Use Management Area (PBLUMA): Planning ordinances created within the Board of Supervisors
Multi-Benefit Irrigated Land Repurposing (MILR) is a proposed program to fallow land while retaining water credits.

What's an AC-FT?

325,800 gallons
One foot/12 inches of water on an acre of land
Source: City of Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo County

Water Use

Agricultural GW Pumping = 85% +/- of Water Use
Groundwater Budget (Future Conditions)
Sustainable Yield: 61,000 AFY
Average GW Storage Deficit: 13,700 AFY
The bottom line: Need to reduce GW pumping by 13, 700 AFY
Source: County of San Luis Obispo

Land Use

Land Use Category 















35, 349

Native vegetation 






Total Agriculture: 40,228 AC (9.2%)
Native Vegetation: 387,435 AC (88.8%)
Source: County of San Luis Obispo

Good to Know

Here in California, we're experiencing double average rainfall this year, which is phenomenal for vineyard and soil health. The rain helps to cleanse the soil by flushing salts out and hydrating the soil profiles prior to bud break, providing for sufficient water supply for healthy canopy growth.

Paso Robles Vineyard & Winery Real Estate

California's #1 vineyard broker, Jenny Heinzen is the go-to agent for wine industry clients, investment funds, and high-net-worth individuals. Proven and experienced with over two decades of insider expertise and $250+ million in closed real estate transactions, you can rely on Jenny to meet your goals.
Contact Jenny at (805) 260-0581 or [email protected]. Jenny Heinzen
Real Estate Broker #01436553
Call/Text (805) 260-0581
3990 Ruth Way, Suite A, Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Here for You

If you're looking for a proven Paso Robles vineyard and winery expert, Jenny Heinzen is prepared to listen, share expertise, and deliver on your goals.