Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Geoff Poole
BWD General Manager 

State Declares Drought & Extension of Shut Off Ban


Last updated 7/16/2021 at 11:19am

On June 8, the State of California issued a notice to the Borrego Water District on two issues, the first is: Prepare for Drought Impacts Statewide. With California experiencing its second consecutive dry year, and due to the effects of climate change, we are all reminded that Drought planning and conservation are now a California way of life. The first six months of water year 2021 rank as the fourth driest on record.

In various portions of the State, these conditions may contribute to reduced yield from ground and/or surface water supply sources, challenges with water quality, and difficulties in meeting normal system demands.

The Borrego Springs Basin (BSB) is critically overdrafted and routinely experience the “drought impacts” that are being realized in other parts of California. Changes in groundwater elevations historically occur in BSB without widespread adverse impacts to water quality/availability and BWD continuously monitors the situation for any trends.

Although local rainfall is important, the impacts of both wet and dry years are not immediately realized in our “slow moving” aquifer as they are in other areas of the State. The rainfall impacts are realized cumulatively over time.

The State has concluded sustained preparation and planning are critical in this situation and taking actions early was key during the last Drought in California. The State suggests the following components should be included in BWD system evaluation: a. Monitor the depth-to-ground-water level in wells under both pumping and non-pumping conditions: b. Read and record well pumping capacity: c. Monitor and record the water levels in your system storage tanks during various high-demand periods of the day: d. Repair any obvious leaks in your storage tanks and distribution system. BWD checks all the boxes in this area and has maintained an extensive well monitoring (quality and quantity), real time remote reservoir levels and meter reading programs for decades. These activities are part of normal system operations and BWD responds to any leaks 24/7.

In addition, the State encourages creation of an awareness that voluntary conservation, when in Borrego Springs or in any part of California, is critical as conservation extends existing supplies. The State Water Board urges BWD to work with all customers in our service area to voluntarily reduce by reducing watering outdoor, applying potable water directly to driveways and sidewalks, irrigate turf and ornamental landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall and others.

The other State Notice received by BWD pertains to Extension of Water Shutoff Moratorium. As the state prepares to fully reopen in the coming weeks, certain provisions of Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 related executive orders remain. On June 11, 2021, the governor issued Executive Order N-08-21, which extends the prohibition on discontinuing water service for residential customers and small businesses in a critical infrastructure sector until September 30, 2021. Water systems played—and still play – a vital role in protecting health and safety by halting water shutoffs for residential customers. Any Customer experiencing difficulty in paying their water bill, please contact BWD and ask for Esmeralda.

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