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Wishing Won't Make It So

No Matter How Long You Hold Your Breath

Digger - February 19, 2012

There is an old nursery rhyme that begins:

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride;
If turnips were watches
I'd wear one by my side...

It is intended to discourage wishful thinking, and most children easily grasp its moral; too many Borregans don't. They fail or refuse to realize that not every "good idea" to come along can be implemented, and seem to have a childish faith that just wishing for something will make it so.

The Christmas Circle Community Park uses seventeen acre feet of water per year to keep about two acres of grass green. That is 1.6% of all residential water use in Borrego and enough water to supply 27 average households in Borrego each year. The Park uses substantially more water per acre than even the local golf courses and there is no apparent reason why it should. With a modest reduction of turf and more efficient irrigation of what remains Borrego could retain its "oasis" and take a step toward economic and environmental sustainability.

The Christmas Circle Park board can't afford the water bill and the community can't afford the water. Both of these problems would be ameliorated by reducing the turf. Nonetheless, respondents in a "Speak Up!" poll in the Borrego Sun, unencumbered by facts, recently favored keeping the grass by three to one and the park board stubbornly refuses to even consider the common sense solution of removing some turf to reduce both the water demand and the bill.

The obvious, and probably only, solution is to use less water which could be achieved by removing some turf. The Christmas Circle Park board's solution of choice, however, is for the Borrego Water District to offer the park a deeply discounted water rate despite the fact that it is required by the state constitution to charge the same rate of all ratepayers. So, while they can't or won't support even one park, Christmas Circle, the people of Borrego nonetheless busy themselves creating new ones and planning still more willy-nilly.

Contrary to popular belief, BWD can't be the default underwriter of every amenity that can be conjured up. It's precluded by law from discounting the Park's water rate - the Park board's repeated denial of this reality notwithstanding. It's not a "public benefit organization" as characterized by those who would have it bankroll community parks. It is a water utility with its hands full and its coffers near empty, struggling to fulfill its singular statutory responsibility of providing potable water to all of its customers.

The problem is that when it comes to priorities for water use in the Borrego Valley there is neither consensus nor any serious attempt to achieve it because endemic wishful thinking in Borrego refuses to recognize limits; so our groundwater problem continues to fester and the park faces losing all of its turf in a few months when the money runs out and the water is shut off - all because too many Borregans can't fathom the simple wisdom of a child's proverb.

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