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A Brief Post-Mortem On The Borrego Water District's Fourth Annual Meeting

To Report Progress On ImplementingBorrego Water District Groundwater Management Plan

History of the Plan

The BWD Board, after several months of discussion, voted unanimously on 22 November 1999 to undertake a groundwater management study as the basis for a groundwater management plan for the Borrego Water District.[1] The Borrego Water District Groundwater Management Plan was adopted September 25, 2002, "to guide the District in resolving the current overdraft ofthe Borrego Valley aquifer."[2] Periodic reporting requirements were included in the Plan for good reason; i.e., to enable the rate-payers and residents of the BWD to hold the Board accountable for progress, or lack thereof, on implementing the Plan. Rate-payers and residents of the BWD are entitled to the above information and the Board is obligated by its own plan to provide it. The Board, however, has consistently failed to meet the Plan's specific reporting requirements that require re-evaluation of the Plan at least once a year[3] at the January or February meeting of the BWD Board where a report will be made on:

23 February 2005 Town Hall Meeting

At the Fourth Annual Groundwater Management Update Meeting on 23February 2005, the Board failed to:

as clearly required by the Plan itself.

All but one of the presentations at the meeting were made, and all of the questions were answered, by outside experts.  Except for the Chair, Board members and the BWD General Manager were mute or absent.  The Chair's comments consisted of only a brief welcome and perfunctory closing remarks that trotted out the usual, shopworn laundry list of activities dressed up as achievements.

The BWD Board thus once again failed to meet its clearly delineated responsibility to report on and re-evaluate the BWD Groundwater Management Plan each year. In fact, for the past two years the Board has assiduously avoided addressing any of the essential elements set forth in the Plan (see above).  It has also not reported on progress, or lack thereof, toward goals set at the first annual groundwater management update meeting (January 2003).  Small wonder; for after more than two years there has been no progress on these either.

The most interesting revelation to come out of the meeting is that, based on the latest science available, the USGS was apparently right fifty years ago about the amount of water available and how long it would last; i.e., until 2035, give or take.

Biggest unanswered question remaining after the meeting is: When, if ever, will the BWD stop stalling and take meaningful action to actually reduce the overdraft?

Oh well, maybe next year.

[1]Borrego Water District Groundwater Management Plan, September 25, 2002, p. 16.
[2] BWD Groundwater Management Plan, p. 1.
[3]BWD Groundwater Management Plan, p. 31.
[4] BWD Groundwater Management Plan, p. 76.

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