BORREGO SPRINGS ASKS TOURISTS’ HELP TO EASE WATER SHORTAGE

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By Hope Springs

Special report: April 1, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – The Borrego Water District, in partnership with the Borrego Chamber of Commerce, has issued a plan to help ease the region’s dire water shortage. A new publicity campaign titled “Bring a bottle to flush: keep the desert lush” is rolling out today.

Flyers, posters and press releases urge tourists and residents to buy bottled water outside the region and to please pour a bottle into the toilet before each flush.

With long lines of traffic flowing into the region for wildflower viewing, art shows and the Borrego Days annual festival, civic leaders hope this plan will help:

“Since most all Borrego Springs residents and businesses are on septic systems, water used is put back into the ground. So adding bottled water to flushing toilets will add new water into the aquifer, recharging it over time,” says department spokeswoman Flo Waters.  The plan also would allow for a portion of money spent on "toilet water" to be tax deductible on residents’ state taxes. 

Despite recent rains, the region is under a state mandate to slash water use by 75% due to pumping groundwater faster than it can be replenished.  Studies will be done to calculate the rate of replenishment that this plan yields, Waters says.

Restaurant patrons can also help reduce water use by bringing their own bottled water and for travelers from outside the region, ice packed in coolers.

Those visitors who wish to make a larger water contribution to ease Borrego’s water woes and keep water available for irrigation may deposit gallons, cases or tanks of water in a new water collection box to be set up on Christmas Circle in the heart of town. 

Some businesses are sweetening the deal, offering discounts on everything from meals to hotel stays to customers who bring their own water.  Celebrities who frequent Borrego resorts are also getting into the spirit of saving Borrego, with music pop idol Rocky Sands pledging a fleet of water trucks, each touting his band’s logo. The band will also perform a benefit concert under the stars to raise funds for buying more Borrego water.

Chamber of Commerce spokesman Macon Moolah says this plan could ultimately help save large water users including farms and golf courses from being forced to shut down. These businesses are major employers as well as magnets for snowbirds and other tourists.

“This is an ingenious idea that won't be cost prohibitive in new taxes,” Moolah says, adding, “Our focus group study found that it’s being received remarkably well by most residents, businesses and visitors, since it's the first real solution to help solve the dire water situation in this beautiful desert community.”

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Read more 2019 April Fool's Day reports:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/april-1-2019-special-edition