The area around Paso Robles California, part of the Central Coast region of California, is known for its idyllic rural setting and its prolific agricultural output. Once dotted with dry-farmed almond groves, now boutique and large scale vineyards and specialty ranches mingle with villas and hillside homesteads. And like most of California, the area is experiencing the worst drought in memory.
The first-ever citizen-sponsored groundwater information system, developed by Wellntel, recently went online near Paso Robles. Information about groundwater levels will be collected by Wellntel sensors for the well owners so that they can, for the first time, see the ebbs and flows of a critical asset and develop smart approaches to groundwater management.
The program was made possible by resident Sue Luft, who leads PRO Water Equity, a coalition of area groundwater stakeholders (farmers and citizens) that has been working to develop a local groundwater management district to ensure that quality of life can continue in the areas.
Members of the Wellntel team, including Marian Singer, Dave Garner, and Nick Hayes, worked with well service professionals Kurt and Mark Bollinger at Miller Drilling to install and test Wellntel sensors on a wide array of private water wells in the region, some feeding homes, others used to hydrate vineyards and ranches.
Wellntel’s novel sensors will keep a continuous tab on fluctuations in the groundwater table, looking for changes in the overall level of groundwater in the area, as well as the performance of each individual well. Program participants will be able to see what is happening over time on a private website. Wellntel does not measure consumption, only supply. It is designed to give the homeowner or farmer the piece of mind that the water and well system they depend on is healthy.
The program will last for many months with field support from students at Cal Poly and groundwater modeling and reports provided by members of the hydro-climate group at UC Berkeley.
Wellntel’s engineers are using the experience to improve and simplify sensor and network design, preparing for a national launch of the technology this summer. The sensors in these images are not the final Wellntel design, but special systems meant for pilot program duty.
To learn about citizen-sponsored groundwater monitoring, the pilot program in Paso Robles or Wellntel technologies, please contact Wellntel at firstname.lastname@example.org.