April 13, 2024


In a contradictory move, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted Tuesday to get out of a controversial water recycling project while remaining in the project’s joint power authority.

In response to years of drought, in 2016, the cities of Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach agreed on plans for a recycled water project to bring an additional 900 to 1,000 acre feet of water annually to the South County cities, even during droughts. However, the Central Coast Blue project soared in price from an estimated $29 million to a current estimate of between $135 million to $158 million, leading to a pause of the project.

Even though the group scaled back the project from five wells down to three wells, the cost continued increasing in cost.

The Arroyo Grande City Council’s unanimous vote was the first official action to quit the project. However, while the council voted to stop investing in the project, the council voted to remain in the Central Coast Blue Joint Powers Authority, which could cost the city about $80,000 a year.

The council agreed to stay in the authority in order to examine alternative water sources or projects that are less expensive, actions the authority is not contracted to perform.

The Central Coast Blue Regional Recycled Water Authority is tasked with building an advanced treatment facility with approximately five injection wells and associated transmission lines, and injection of flows from Pismo Beach’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, to provide “between 900 and 1, 000 acre feet of additional water per year,” according to the joint powers agreement the three agencies signed.

Arroyo Grande has already expended more than $2 million on Central Coast Blue.

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