Defeat of water bond measure bodes disaster for the desert community of Borrego Springs

Driver Arturo Romero checks a load of grapefruit at Seley Ranches in the Borrego Valley in 2016, The valley’s rapidly shrinking aquifer will require severe cutbacks on water usage by citrus growers and the town of Borrego Springs. /Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune


By J. Harry Jones | Los Angeles Times

t’s back to square one for the tiny desert community of Borrego Springs, which is facing the daunting task of reducing its consumption of water by at least 75% in the coming decades.

The defeat of Proposition 3, an $8.8-billion state water bond, in the Nov. 8 election was a crushing blow. The bond lost 51.5% to 48.5%

Had it passed, Borrego Springs would have received $35 million to fallow most of the 3,800 acres of citrus and other farms in the northern part of the community.

The farms would have been purchased, the trees cut down, and the land eventually would have become part of the huge Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which surrounds the unincorporated town like a doughnut.

Those farms, some in existence for more than for 50 years, have been sucking between 70% and 80% of the groundwater from the town’s lone aquifer. Golf courses, businesses and residents use the rest.

There’s no way to pipe water into the Borrego Valley. It’s groundwater or nothing.


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November 2018