Residents of Borrego Springs are reluctantly coming to grips with a problem that threatens the very existence of their community, one they have known about and been slow to solve — until the state threatened to intervene.
There are no aqueducts that bring water to this desert community. There are no desalination plants or any other method of creating drinkable water. Every ounce used by residents, golf courses and especially farmers is pumped from the ground.
The problem: Studies show that each year the underground aquifers that lie below the Borrego Valley are naturally replenished by about 1.8 billion gallons. But on average, each year 6.2 billion gallons are being sucked from the earth by electric pumps. Were that to continue, the cost of pumping would eventually become fiscally unfeasible and the quality of the water would get worse and worse.
The state has declared an emergency. They say Borrego is in “critical overdraft” and has dictated that steps must be taken now to bring the water supply to sustainable levels.
By January 2020, a plan must be in place, prepared jointly by the Borrego Water District and the County of San Diego, which in the end will guarantee that water use is reduced by 70 percent by the year 2040.
The goal is to have the inflow and outflow of water remain the same and for the aquifer level to remain constant.
If a plan can’t be put together and then implemented, the state will intervene and force the issue — something nobody wants in Borrego Springs.
“Thank God for SGMA (the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,)” said Bill Berkley, one of the owner’s of the Rams Hill golf course…
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