What follows is the text of comments made at the Borrego Water District's 12th Annual Town Hall Meeting on 27 March 2013 in Borrego Springs, California, by Borrego Springs resident John Delaney. They appear here by permission.
John Delaney - March 27, 2013
In 1982 a US Geological survey concluded that the aquifer in Borrego Springs was in overdraft. They further concluded that serious economic, social and environmental harm would occur in Borrego Springs if the overdraft was not reversed.
That was 31 years ago and today the overdraft is more than twice what it was in 1982, in spite of millions of dollars of ratepayers' money that have been thrown at the problem. We have listened to and pursued at great expense many ideas that were offered as solutions: ideas like importation, exploration of Clark's Dry Lake, hoping for cooperation from the large water users, just to mention a few. It's like a hit parade of failed ideas.
The conclusions of the USGS in its 1982 survey have now come to pass. Real estate values are depressed, many ratepayers worry about how to pay next month's water bill, and the park has many dead mesquite trees and dried up springs to confirm the environmental damage.
The suggestion that we should leave management of the water we have left in the hands of local boards and local politics is asking for more of the same. Don't we deserve better?
The overdraft problem could have been and should have been solved years ago. Ask yourself this, if the basin had been adjudicated in 1982 or 1992 would we still be talking about the overdraft? Would the ratepayers be looking at higher and higher water bills every year? Isn't it time we tried another approach?
We ask the ratepayers of Borrego Springs to stand with us and insist that our elected officials start the process of adjudication. Twenty two water districts in Southern California have already completed this process.
We don't need to invent a solution, it is ours for the taking.
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