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BORREGO U: Aquifers and Water-Dependent Ecosystems

March 27 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Travis Huxman will be presenting Aquifers and Water-Dependent Ecosystems.

How plants use water resources in desert ecosystems has implications for a number of issues important to society. In Borrego Spring the issue is of particular importance because vegetation has the potential to impact the amount of water that is available in the groundwater system for use by agriculture, recreation, and domestic/commercial use. Desert plants can intercept water in transit to the groundwater system and also directly access groundwater where it is sufficiently near the ground surface. Plants can have diffuse, minor effects across large areas, or impactful patterns of extraction in localized habitat. California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires critically overdrafted basins such as Borrego Springs to detail their system-wide water budget, which requires careful consideration of how plants affect water resources and an understanding of potential impacts of changes in the groundwater system on such groundwater dependent ecosystems (hereafter GDE’s).

We have been carrying out research in the basin looking at the ecohydrology of desert plants and the role of GDE’s in the water budget, funded by a grant from CA Department of Water Resources through the Borrego Water District. Our work demonstrates a high probability of mesquite accessing groundwater in the basin, satisfying the definition of a GDE, and requiring consideration as a beneficial user under SGMA. We have been tackling important questions related to management, such as the spatial distribution of the ecosystem, the patterns of water-use in time, the magnitude of groundwater extraction, and the trajectory of ecosystem health. Each of these questions are important areas that will inform the management of groundwater in the basin and require careful consideration by those who live and work in Borrego when crafting the future vision of this desert town.


In this presentation we will discuss:


  • The science behind how plants use water from the soil in desert systems
  • Patterns of use by plants in different landscape settings
  • Implications of how plants use water for the Borrego Springs Subbasin
  • Role of climate change in affecting patterns of water use
  • Scenarios important to how Borrego Springs can conserve both water and biological diversity in the context of competition for water resources



Topic: Borrego U: Aquifers and Water-Dependent Ecosystems
Time: Mar 27, 2024 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)







March 27
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Borrego Springs Library
2580 Country Club Rd
Borrego Springs, CA 92004 United States
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