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Implementing the Groundwater Mitigation Policy:
A Fumbled Attempt

13 October 2005

The following text was offered to the BWD Board “in the form of a motion” at its 28 September 2005 meeting. It was passed by a unanimous vote with two changes:

  1. Strike numbered paragraph 1;
  2. Change “application for a water meter” to “issuance of a building permit” in numbered paragraph 2.

It is not clear from the document itself and was not made clear at the meeting how much of the following verbiage was technically and formally a part of the “motion”. It was offered as a whole. As it stands, however, it is a curious mixture of statutory language, transmittal document, comments, questions, supporting information, instructions to the Board, and nondescript linguistic circumlocutions.

The Board, however, voted on the purported “motion” in its entirety and without editing or clarification, except for the aforementioned. They made no effort to separate wheat from chafe. It is, therefore, once again unlikely that Board members know what they passed or if and how it will be integrated into the BWD’s “Policy on New Development – Groundwater Preservation” (No. 2005-6-1) to which – although not presented as such – it is presumably an amendment and not a stand-alone policy.

Their presumebly good intentions have once again suffered from sloppy work.

Even if the Board is able to sort out and correct this muddle, they have still done nothing to actually save any water.They have simply setup a mechanism that, if and when implemented, will save water. To finish the job they must find a way to actually purchase and fallow farm land as soon as possible, and not just rest on their laurels.

TO: Board of Directors, Borrego Water District
FROM: Groundwater Preservation Ad hoc Committee
SUBJECT: Committee Report of September 14, 2005 Meeting


At our [Groundwater Preservation Ad hoc Committee] meeting on September 14, 2005, after numerous public meetings, the Ad hoc Committee makes the following recommendation for your approval, in the form of a motion:

The Borrego Water District, in implementing the Groundwater Preservation Policy recently adopted by the Board, hereby establishes the following interim implementation procedures:

1. The Committee was requested to investigate the possibility of assessing tax exempt organizations at a 1 to 1 ratio. Upon investigation by Counsel, (see attachments) it appears that this could be construed as an act of discrimination and therefore should not be done.

2. At the time of application for a water meter issuance of a building permit, existing single family lots in the district will be charged an in lieu fee for Groundwater Preservation in the amount of $4,168 per lot. This fee is in addition to the current costs for a meter installation.

Please note an analysis by the District’s Consulting Engineer is included in your packet for this meeting. It describes the background and basis used to establish the interim fee amount.

Funds collected will be retained in a special account to be used for Groundwater Preservation purposes including reducing the rate of the overdraft, and to continue efforts to obtain supplies of water for a recharge program.

The in lieu fee in item 2 is to be adjusted as additional information becomes available and/or as events require revisions to the elements that are used to calculate the fee. Following that, at the beginning of the next fiscal year the fee will be reviewed and adjusted at the direction of the Board. It wil1 be reviewed annually and adjusted if appropriate on July of each year thereafter while mitigation fee continues to be required.

Your vote for this interim in lieu fee is requested by the Committee.

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