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"Digger"

We're All In This Alone

December 1, 2015

What follows is a copy of a letter to the editor published in the Borrego Sun. It appears here by permission of the author.    Digger



Dear Editor:

Please, let me get this straight! Because of the drought, California has mandated a 25% reduction of "monitored" water usage within the state. Here in Borrego Springs, that applies only to Borrego Water District rate payers who use only the 10% of the water. Therefore, the result would be a net savings of actually only "2.5%" in the overall depletion of our sole-source aquifer.

No other Borrego Valley aquifer users, i.e. agriculture, golf courses and other private wells, are required to comply with the mandate. Those sources, using 90% of our water between them, may continue to draw down from the aquifer at an uninterrupted rate from their own wells.

Having lived in this community for more than 12 years, my wife and I and so many other responsible members of Borrego Springs, have always understood and appreciated our dwindling aquifer and conscientiously conserved water while agriculture (70%) and recreation (20%) depleted our precious resource at a staggering higher rate. Now, the State of California, via the Borrego Water District, has mandated an extra 25% reduction in our water usage. That mandate threatens our personal quality of life and that of other rate payers while citrus, palms, potatoes and fairways thrive as always. What is wrong with this picture? I thought we Borregans, like other Californians, were supposed to be in this thing together.

We were told locally that the highly-touted Borrego Water Coalition (BWC) would reflect the voluntary cooperation of all valley water users in the reduction of the overdraft of the aquifer. How much are the "non-district" water users of the BWC contributing to the state's reduction mandate? The answer is simple.ZERO! Perhaps all "non-district" BWC members would now like to contribute to a 25% reduction of their water usage from the aquifer. I won't hold my breath.

There is a simple solution... adjudication of our water usage in the Borrego Valley by our state courts. Any stakeholder in this valley with the financial resources, and you are out there, can initiate that legal action which would eventually result in a savings of at least 75%, not 2.5%, of the water usage from the Borrego Springs aquifer. Ultimately, that would save the Borrego Valley for now and future human generations, flora and fauna. Of that, there is no doubt.

Please don't tell me this can't be done, as is so often heard in this valley. Twenty-two (22) other watersheds in California have successfully adjudicated their dwindling resources in the state courts and brought their overdrafts under reasonable control as a result.

Borrego Water District, state and federal studies over the last decade have confirmed that we may have 35 to 40 years of viable water remaining in our aquifer. Endless "El Ninos" will not save us as we deplete the aquifer at our present usage rate four times that of recharge! If we do not leave a livable valley for our children, grandchildren and future desert-loving generations, I hope they will forgive us. It is within our power to save this beautiful valley now. Have we no conscience?

Dick Walker
Borrego Springs

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