by Ray Shindler - October 28, 2016
The County, represented by Bill Horn, and the farmers are contesting the USGS aquifer recharge number of 5,700 acre feet per year. They, of course, want a higher number, because, as Director Lyle Brecht put it, "it would be easier"!
The water board has asked the Dudek environmental consulting firm to look at agricultural water runoff and how much of that goes back into the aquifer. The USGS did look at that in their study. The water board thinks another look may put these claims to rest. When I talked to Jerry Rowling (former BWD General Manager) about this he said those dissenters can go out and spend one million dollars on their own study like the water board did if they think the recharge is more!
The water quality report from Dudek will come out next month. After the meeting I asked Trey Driscoll from Dudek what it will look like. He said the arsenic levels are higher in wells in the sink and Ram's Hill areas, and not so high in the North and Middle aquifer areas. Ram's Hill pumps water on their golf course from the lower aquifer...those wells are contaminated with arsenic.
As we draw down the aquifer/well levels, there is not a bright line where water quality deteriorates. We probably will not be able to make a clear argument as to why we should reach sustainability faster than the 2040 timeline. However, Trey pointed out that we must err on the side of faster because we cannot take any chance that we will lose our water quality because we could not afford to build and maintain a facility to treat water...$30 to $40 million Dollars.
The Anza Borrego Foundation is applying for a line item in the California Bond ballot measure of around $28 million dollars to be used to mitigate the costs of developing and implementing the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, including the purchase of agricultural lands. A guy from Senator Anderson's office was at the mtg today and we asked him to ask the Senator for support. A group is also going to meet with the Senator to ask for his support.
So far I am the only one who has applied for the ratepayer representative position for the water advisory committee. There are two more weeks left to apply.
Thanks to you all for support.
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