Borrego Sun - Since 1949

"Water Rights vs. Water Wrongs"


Last updated 9/17/2020 at 9:55am

I’ve tried, for a long time, to keep my mouth shut – be a good and compliant citizen. Now, I’ve reached the point at which I can no longer suffer the lack of logic and reason foisted upon the public by the SGMA and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR regarding the Borrego Air Ranch.

For more than 10 years, I have measured the water table at the Ranch on a weekly basis. It has not dropped even one inch in that period of time. Nevertheless, we at the Air Ranch are included in the SGMA mandate that we cut out already meager usage by 70% or more, over the next 20 years.

I understand that other parts of the Borrego basin have suffered dropping water tables. However, even with the recent drilling of six new wells, near us, in the south portion of the Borrego valley, our water table has not dropped a single inch.

I’ve asked the DWR for the science that supports their theory that the Air Ranch is in the subject subbasin. Their response was, “We just know you are.” Really? Clearly, that’s not science nor is it logical or reasonable. Alternately, my proof is material, documented, unmitigated and reproducible. Mine is pure scientific evidence, not just bureaucratic rhetoric.

What’s more confounding to me is that we have 26 homes, which share two wells (one is merely a backup), but somehow we don’t qualify as a de minimis user because we all share the same single source. If we had 26 wells, we’d all be de minimis by definition, but our annual pumping would be the same as it is today. This makes no sense.

Even more heavy handed is the requirement that we, as the Air Ranch, must agree to the unilateral document called the “Stipulated Agreement” or, after more than seven years of responsible, frugal and conservative water stewardship, we will be unable to buy more water credits and will, thus, be legislated out of existence. Our property values will plummet, and our homes will be reclaimed by the desert.

This obvious and unfounded over-reach by the perpetrators of the SGMA and the DWR must be opposed by right-minded Borrego Valley citizens and all residents at the Borrego Air Ranch.

I’m intellectually offended, mad as hell, I’m not having it. I’m committed to stopping this brazen attempt to take my water rights by fiat. It’s just wrong.

Bill Bancroft

– Borrego Springs, California

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