By Karen Brainard
Drought conditions have prompted Ramona Municipal Water District to revise the use of excess groundwater at the district’s Well Field Park, also known as Ramona Community Park.
Board president Darrell Beck said he is concerned that by August a lot of wells in Ramona will be running dry.
About four wells of varying age and depth, dating back to RMWD’s precursor, the Ramona Irrigation District, are at Well Field Park, said David Barnum, the district’s general manager. The district leases the park to the Ramona Parks and Recreation Association, which uses the untreated well water, stored in a tank, for irrigation.
In 2007, when the state was not experiencing drought, RMWD adopted an ordinance that allowed RPRA to sell excess water extracted from the park.
In light of current conditions, Barnum recommended the board repeal that ordinance to ensure there is water for irrigating the park and, if necessary, to fight fires.
With the hot spring season, there is concern that wells are running dry, he said. If groundwater at the park runs out, Barnum said RPRA would have to use potable water for irrigation and that would be more expensive.
Beck said that in the past three weeks he has experienced his personal well going dry, as evidenced by reduced pump pressure.
“If it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t put more water in the watershed,” said Beck.
According to Beck, decades ago the wells in Well Field Park supplied water to the town. In the early 1950s those wells began to run dry due to prolonged drought “and that’s why we had to import water to Ramona,” he said at the board’s April 22 meeting.
In a 3-0 vote, the board agreed to disallow sale or removal of water from the park.