Borrego Springs is running out of water.
The aquifer that lays under the Borrego basin is disappearing, it's critically over-drafted.
In 2017, California created the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which mandated that Borrego become water “sustainable,” meaning water inflow equals outflow, by 2040.
Keep in mind, that Borrego is 100% dependent on groundwater, there is no feasible way to bring water into the basin, and due to climate change, the aquifer is not going to suddenly replenish.
To become sustainable, Borrego needs to cut 75% of its water usage by 2040.
After years of back and forth and lack of a cohesive plan, a recent court decision has finally put a water plan in place for Borrego Springs.
On April 8, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson ruled in favor of an Adjudication proposal signed by over 80% of Borrego’s pumpers.
The new Grand Management Plan (GMP) gives day-to-day water management, as well as long-range sustainability planning of the basin, to a Watermaster Board and Staff. The Watermaster Board is comprised of agricultural, municipal and recreational pumpers, as well as a community representative and independent consultant.
To meet the long-term goal of a 75% reduction in water usage, a ramp-down policy has been put in place. In the first ten years, Borrego will see a 50% decrease in water usage, followed by a 25% cut the following ten years. Farms and golf courses will be impacted the most. Currently, agriculture accounts for 70% of Borrego’s water usage, while golf courses are responsible for 15%. If all goes to plan, Borrego will have cut its water usage by 75% by 2040.
The new Watermaster Board has already taken steps to put its plan in place, including installing meters on all large, active pumping wells.