What is the Baja Sustainability Plan?
The Baja Sustainability Plan identifies water-related issues in the Baja Subarea with the goal of preserving agriculture communities and the local economy while mitigating groundwater decline and related problems. The Baja Subarea is comprised of the surrounding communities of Newberry Springs, Daggett, and Yermo. Local community members including farmers, businesses and homeowners are working in partnership with Federal, State, and local agencies to develop the plan.
During the plan process, participants will evaluate a variety of potential solutions that minimize negative impacts. When complete, the plan will assist in developing an implementation program including identifying funding sources and the agencies and community partners who will help implement solutions. Learn more…
Why Do We Need the Plan?
The Baja subarea is in overdraft; more water is pumped out of the ground than is naturally being recharged. In the water year 2011-12 the amount of water usage exceeded natural inflows by 9,000 acre-feet. Overdraft has created long-term water level declines in the area. In many areas water levels are declining at one to two feet per year.
To reconcile the difference in water inflow and water use, under the Mojave Basin Adjudication, producers have been required to "rampdown" their production. Rampdown has become a difficult burden to the residents and businesses of the community.
As water levels have declined, sand dune migration in some areas is beginning to occur. This may be due to decreased vegetation in the riverbed and fallowed farmland. Learn more...
Why Should I Get Involved?
The success of this plan depends on community participation. To effectively develop a successful plan, community input is needed to provide local information, help define the future vision, offer ideas on how to "fix" Baja Subarea challenges, and provide feedback on the plan process. Learn more...
New State Laws Could Affect Baja
Recently passed State Legislation will require groundwater basins throughout California to be used and managed sustainably. Provisions in the law will allow the State to assume management authority over groundwater basins where local agencies have failed to meet the sustainability requirements in the law. Having a successful sustainability plan for Baja will be essential in maintaining local control of groundwater in Baja.
More information on the new groundwater laws:
Assembly Bill 1739 Summary California Legislative Information
Senate Bill 1168 Summary California Legislative Information
Senate Bill 1319 Summary California Legislative Information
Court Wants a Plan for Baja
Groundwater production rights for large producers in Baja have been incrementally ramped down over a number of years, and are currently at 55% of the producers' Base Annual Production (BAP) rights established in the mid-1990's. In June 2014, the Superior Court in Riverside indicated that Baja is "of considerable concern" because they are still overproducing. Continued ramp-downs of BAP are likely in the absence of a reasonable and implementable alternative.
Summary of Court Proceedings: Listen to Attorney Bill Brunick's summary of the court proceedings during the June 26, 2014 MWA Board Meeting... his report starts at 01:39:00 in the audio recording.
Where Is the Baja Area?
Who Are the Partners?
How Can I Participate?