Merced County's future growth plans will continue to drain the limited water supplies that sustain life here.
Merced County released a technical memorandum recently that details how development plans may impact groundwater supplies, the source of most all drinking water and irrigation water in the county.
The Merced County Board of Supervisors and Merced County Planning Commission have been meeting since 2006 to update the county's general plan, a policy document that will guide land use and development for at least the next two decades.
The memorandum includes an analysis of the two proposed land-use alternatives being considered for the general plan. They both will strain Merced County's dwindling groundwater supply, but not in the same way.
Alternative D is the general plan option that encourages city-centered growth.
The second plan, Alternative E, emphasizes resource protection, infrastructure availability and increased residential density in established population centers, but saves more land for agriculture.
The full report can be read at www.co.merced.ca.us, on the "General Plan Update" page.
The Merced County Board of Supervisors and Merced County Planning Commission are tentatively scheduled to meet Dec. 8 to choose a land-use focus for the general plan update.