Borrego Water District Increases Future Water Supply
Last updated 7/21/2023 at 10:12am
The Borrego Water District (BWD) has recently negotiated the purchase of two citrus ranches totaling 420 acres and 640 acre feet of associated permanent water rights. increasing the district’s future water supply by 640 acre-feet of water, to the current 1,583-acre feet in use.
The sales, which were consummated in May and July of this year, were between BWD and brothers David and William Bauer for $4.6 million total. The smaller of the transactions was all cash ($1.3M) and the larger ($3.3 M) will be paid over the next eight years, with the owner Completing the fallowing and the District acquiring the water rights in five years. As each parcel is fallowed in the future, payments will be made by and water rights transferred to BWD.
“The added water with our existing permanent supply of 650 acre-feet, gets us two-thirds of the way to meeting the 75% reduction of 905 af required on or before 2040,” stated Geoff Poole, BWD’s General Manager.
“Borrego’s Adjudicated Judgement for overseeing the local groundwater resources , allows the District to carry over water, which is an added benefit.”
Poole reported that the sale was an exceptionally good deal for everyone.
“On the larger transaction, up to $1 million dollar tax write off is possible, due to the fact the selling price was that much below fair market value. The transaction also provides much needed security for our existing customers and the entire Community to know that BWD secured water supplies for our future and that of generations to come,” he reported.
“I think the Bauer’s ultimately favored supporting the community and the public water supplier as opposed to selling its water rights to private interests.”
According to Poole, “In the meantime, there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done in the next five years, which includes removing trees and surface irrigation and capping of wells or converting to monitoring.”
“We plan to send the tree chips to the co-generation plant in Indio; and are working with the Anza-Borrego Board and Anza Borrego Foundation on long-term potential park uses for the fallowed land, which presents some interesting options.”
Additional projects completed are: two of the three 50-year-old water tanks have been replaced with brand new tanks (Twin Tanks and Rams Hill #2) and the tank serving Indian Head is next. These Projects were accomplished with a grant from the State Department of Water Resources.
“The existing wastewater treatment plant has been renovated, again with a grant, along with other mechanical updates, considerably improving the Plants performance and reliability.
Federal funding will be used in 2023 – 24 for design and construction on pipeline replacements in Sun Gold and a new transmission main on Borrego Springs Road.