Digger - March 3, 2019
Highlights of recent articles about or related to groundwater in the Borrego Valley of California and efforts to manage it - or not.
For previous years click here.
One letter. None about water.
See next but one entry.
A report on the 31 January meeting of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Advisory Committee at which the fifth and final chapter of the Groundwater Management Plan was reviewed. Chapter 5 outlines implementation of the GSP including cost estimates, schedule, reporting requirements, and "contemplated" funding sources which include "pumping fees, assessment/parcel taxes, and low interest loans." The GSP implementation schedule begins in 2020. The GSP is an "adaptive plan" that will be continuously updated during the 20 year implementation period. The draft will be released on March 15 for a 60 day public review period.
Because BWD and the County plan on a seriess of meetings on the GSP during the 60 day comment period, this meeting will focus on other issues of importance including operations, capital improvements, finances, and rate projections.
After the failure of Prop 3, a couple of proposals are circulating in the community to raise the $35 million needed to purchase and fallow farmland to reduce water use as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. One would have the County and the State contribute funds. Another would have BWD raise the funds by another bond issue to be paid off by ratepayers. In any case, something must be done soon to contain the economic damage that is and will continue to be done to the community if the uncertainty over funding the Groundwater Sustainability Plan is allowed to continue.
Reports on progress implementing BWD's latest Capital Improvement Plan including pipelines and well replacements.
BWD commissioned a report assessing groundwater elevation declines at each of its nine production wells, examine hydrologic conditions at each well site, and gauge the potential impact of overdraft on future water production. The purpose of the project was to learn how closely actual water level measurements match projections generated by the USGS computer model. What seems clear from the article is that declines in water levels across the sample ranged from 20 to 89 feet and at only one of the eight wells was there "a good match" between the projected and actual values. After that the language becomes so confusing as to defy interpretation with any level of confidence. Either four of the wells showed a drop in elevation greater than the projected value while three wells showed a drop in elevation less than the projected value, or vice versa. Moreover, a critical piece of information, i.e. the period over which the changes in elevation occurred, is missing. The article does stress the importance of receiving reliable measured information from agricultural and golf course wells as soon as possible and at regular intervals in future to inform critical decisions that must be made to meet Sustainable Groundwater Management Act deadlines.
The aquifer under BWD monitoring well #1 has dropped 42 feet since 2004 or 3 ft./yr. on average.
The GSP Core Team is completing an internal review of the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan that will be released for a sixty day public review in February. Comments and questions about the draft from the public are encouraged and there will be public meetings concerning the GSP during the sixty day review period.
In late 2017 BWD and the County applied for a $1 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources to cover costs related to implementing the GSP. The grant was "tentatively approved" in early 2018. "An agreement has been reached on the final language in the grant documents and between the County and DWR so the grant funding process can now continue." BWD has already paid the majority of costs on the expectation that they will be reimbursed by DWR once funds are released.
4 Letters: 1 about water, 1 sort of about water.
Appeasement, the Endowment Effect, and the GSP, p. 7
Recently the Borrego Sun published two letters detailing and justifying changes to the proposed GSP that must be made to protect BWD ratepayers and ensure the longevity of Borrego Springs. Many probably wonder why, at this late date, these conspicuous defects in the GSP have not long since been addressed. This letter to the editor explains why.
The Fate of the Club Circle Golf Course. p.8
A letter from a Club Circle resident to District Five County Supervisor Jim Desmond seeking help in meeting the cost of watering and maintaining the Club Circle Golf Course once BWD discontinues its support of such costs in June 2019.
A report on the BWD board meeting of 8 January at which Kathy Dice was elected President of the board and Dave Duncan Secretary/Treasurer. Lyle Brecht will continue as Vice-President. Dave Duncan will join Ray Delahay on the Operations and Infrastructure standing committee which oversees BWD's maintenance and capital improvement projects.
Four construction projects to replace water pipelines south of Christmas Circle will begin on 25 January.
Linda Haddock resigned as Executive Director of the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce effective 31 December 2018 to pursue other business opportunities.
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