San Luis Obispo County struggles to get businesses on board with drought survey

Sep 12, 2014

Retired U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Raul Ramirez talks to Sikander Jassar about the damage the drought has caused to a vineyard in the Lamont farming community in southeastern Joaquin Valley in Kern County, CA on Feb. 26, 2014.
Credit USDA photo by David Kosling

Local jobs and businesses are being affected along the Central Coast as a result of the lack of water available this summer. But just how much the drought plays a role in any economic hardship is difficult to quantify currently because business owners are reluctant to share that information.

When the State of California issued a drought emergency back in January, it set into motion a number of projects to help those affected. Counties for instance are tasked with sending monthly reports to the state detailing jobs lost and business hardships directly due to a lack of water.

Central Coast business owners however aren't coming forward with that information, possibly because it's not anonymous.

"It's government, you know, some people are not interested in turning over that information," said Sarah Hayter with San Luis Obispo County's Workforce Investment Act.  "But, what we really want that information for is so we have funds available to be able to assist or help those businesses, companies or employees who have lost their jobs or are facing problems from the situation."

Hayder says they started to survey the owners in June and have only heard from fewer than ten businesses. She says without numbers to tell the true story, resources can't flow to the hardest hit.

She's hoping to kick up participation starting this month with a simpler form and online access.

KCBX reached out to the Workforce Investment Boards in both Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties but survey numbers for those areas were not immediately available. 

Find the drought survey here 

Contact Sarah Hayter for help with filling out the survey:

  • (805) 781-1929 or shayter@co.slo.ca.us