What follows is the text of comments made at the Borrego Water District's 11th Annual Town Hall Meeting on 28 March 2012 in Borrego Springs, California, by Borrego Springs resident Ray Shindler. They appear here by permission.
Ray Shindler - March 28, 2012
Agriculture [in the Borrego Valley] is putting themselves out of business. There is only 50 years worth of water left to pump.
Ag's strategy has been to import water. Now, we have two studies that show importation not possible.
Now, their strategy is to pump for as long as they can until some entity tells them to stop, or until the aquifer is mined out.
If we could find deep pockets for buyouts that would be a good solution.
Most likely, we will end up in a legal situation (adjudication.) and agriculture will have to make a decision on how much they want to spend on lawyers to defend their right to mine the aquifer dry, knowing they are likely to lose in the end.
The Los Angeles lawyer representing the interests of agricultural corporations in the Borrego valley gave an interesting speech earlier in this Town Hall meeting. She warned us in a not so subtle threat that "fighting [corporate agriculture] will destroy your community." The implication being that if we contest agriculture's right to deplete the aquifer they will make it real ugly for everyone else who lives here! What certainly will destroy our community is if we allow agriculture to use all the water and leave the rest of us with an empty aquifer.
In the end though, it is not their words that are so important, it is their behavior and consequences that make the difference.
We must support the current Borrego Water District Board members in the next election in November. Agriculture may try and run candidates to take back control of the Board. I never understood why agriculture should be on the Board when they are not even ratepayers.
All of the studies and planning that have been done so far -- importation, Aquifer studies, etc., have all been financed by the ratepayers with no contributions from the largest user of aquifer water -- agriculture.
It's up to us, now, to protect and save our aquifer for future generations. Waiting for something to happen is not an option, we must take action.
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