The Borrego Valley is a small valley (110 square miles) in the northeastern part of San Diego County, California. Although the valley is about 60 miles northeast of city of San Diego, it is separated from the Pacific Ocean coast by the mountains to the west and is mostly within the boundaries of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. From the time the basin was first settled, groundwater has been the only source of water to the valley. Groundwater is used for agricultural, recreational, and municipal purposes. Over time, groundwater withdrawal through pumping has exceeded the amount of water that has been replenished, causing groundwater-level declines of more than 100 feet in some parts of the basin. Continued pumping has resulted in an increase in pumping lifts, reduced well efficiency, dry wells, changes in water quality, and loss of natural groundwater discharge. As a result, the U.S. Geological Survey began a cooperative study of the Borrego Valley with the Borrego Water District (BWD) in 2009. The purpose of the study was to develop a greater understanding of the hydrogeology of the Borrego Valley Groundwater Basin (BVGB) and to provide tools to help evaluate the potential hydrologic effects of future development. The objectives of the study were to
(1) improve the understanding of groundwater conditions and land subsidence,
(2) incorporate this improved understanding into a model that would assist in the management of the groundwater resources in the Borrego Valley, and
(3) use this model to test several management scenarios. This model provides the capability for the BWD and regional stakeholders to quantify the relative benefits of various options for increasing groundwater storage.
The study focuses on the period 1945–2010, with scenarios 50 years into the future.