Why Borrego Can't Solve Its Water Problem
Digger - August 27, 2015
The July 30 issue contained several examples that, in aggregate, illustrate why BWD's current desultory efforts to curtail water use in the valley will meet with the same sorry fate as all previous abortive attempts to deal with the community's water problem.
- A peculiar editorial with its odd title and disjointed laundry list of scary issues that includes only a tangential and, for Borrego, inappropriate reference to water shortages and exhorts residents to "stand up and get involved now" will doubtless be met with a yawn and dismissed as incomprehensible by complacent locals.
- The piece about blow sand illustrates what happens when residents ignore such exhortations, do not adopt a precautionary approach to problem resolution, and indulge their proclivity to assume the posture of a startled ostrich and hope that the problem will just go away.
- A letter seeking volunteers for a citizens group to advise the Water District in designing a new tiered rate structure for residential water users "to promote water conservation in the community" undercuts its own appeal when, at the same time, the missive specifically excludes agricultural and golf course irrigation, responsible for 90% of water use, from consideration by the group. The effect is to make the effort appear superfluous to an already jaded citizenry. Folks in Borrego may be seriously uninformed, uninvolved, and blasť, but they aren't stupid. They are unlikely to volunteer for a patent exercise in futility.
- BWD's admission that it missed its target of a 25% reduction in domestic water use in June by more than one-third and the board's timorous and deficient response, i.e. sending a letter to "high-use ratepayers" in a naive attempt to shame the shameless into conserving, bodes ill for even complying with the Governor's modest conservation order let alone dealing with Borrego's already calamitous and ever worsening groundwater problems. Maybe if the board threatened to put a copy of the letter in the miscreants' "permanent file?"
The cumulative effect of the above is an image of a community that is ignorant of or unconcerned about solving critical problems that confront it. In the case of the most severe of such problems, the rapid destruction of Borrego's sole-source aquifer, the situation is aggravated by BWD's diffidence, institutionalized affinity for cosmetic kluges, and aversion to plenary action. It is a deadly combination.