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The following appeared as a letter to the editor of the Borrego Sun on March 7, 2019, and is the first in a series.
It appears here by permission of the author.

"1,700 Acre Feet/Yr. For Ratepayers"

Gary A. Haldeman
BWD Ratepayer Representative to the Borrego Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee

So, by now you've all heard about the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP,) the plan drafted by a joint committee, the Groundwater Sustainability Agency, consisting of two members from the County of SD, and Members Brecht and Duncan, from the BWD Board, and Mr. Poole, BWD Manager.

Under the new law (SGMA - Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2016) the Agency's responsibility is to draft and implement a plan that will ensure that the water used in the Borrego Basin is done so sustainably, which is to say, the water extracted from the aquifer will not exceed the water going into it.

This will mean significant reductions to our current overall usage of approximately 22,000 acre feet/year (AFY) by ratepayers, recreation and agriculture. Hydrogeological studies conducted as part of the Plan indicate that our aquifer will yield some 5700 (AFY). So you can see, valley-wide, we need to make big cuts.

Following almost two months of meetings, we, the ratepayers, have agreed to four points we feel must be part of the GSP implementation process. The GSA and BWD are already aware of our strong belief that these points must be an integral part of the Plan as it moves forward.

The four points are the following:

In this letter, I will outline one of many reasons the Borrego Springs ratepayer/BWD must be exempt from any reductions beyond our current use. My aim is to write a biweekly letter to The Sun outlining one reason for each one of these four points. Look for these letters please.

The overarching goal for the GSP has to be the survival and modest growth of our town. Without us, the ratepayers (represented by BWD,) there would be no Borrego Springs. It's just as simple as that.

Our water usage currently amounts to around 11% of the total usage for the valley. The ratepayers, have, over recent years, reduced our water consumption by more than 30%, and historically, by some 50%. No other user in the valley can lay claim to these facts. In good faith, over recent years, we have cut our water use and have had to bear the burden of significantly higher rates; the cost of the infrastructure we need to pump our water far exceeds that for the other two major water users: recreation or agriculture.

We, residents and businesses paying a bill to BWD, deserve and need at least the amount of water we currently use. We are the engine of this town. Communicate this to your elected BWD members or to the appointed GSA members, and tell them how you feel. Together we will make this happen.

Next letter in this series

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