In a flat desert valley filled with cactus and citrus, residents struggle with an impending water shortage. Borrego Springs is a small retirement and agricultural community surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Aside from about 6 inches of annual rainfall, the sole water source is an aquifer whose groundwater has been declining and has an expected useful life of only 30 more years. Then, according to the Borrego Water District, the water will be half gone, and pumping from other wells will become much more expensive and less productive. Preserving the area's way of life could require dramatic changes. Some of the choices facing Borrego Springs--whether to fallow farmland that uses most of the water or allow desert flora to wither and die, starving wildlife--will be confronted elsewhere in the state as water sources become less reliable. Today, this stand of mesquite trees is dying of thirst.
Annie Wells / LAT
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