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Baja California Shines at Tourist Expo

BY ARCHER INGRAM

At the 2024 edition of the Tianguis Turístico in Acapulco, Guerrero, Baja California emerged as a notable winner, securing four awards from Mexico’s Tourism Secretary and the magazine México Desconocido. Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda announced the wins after attending Latin America’s premier tourism event, where Baja California was named the host for the 2025 edition. The awards included two for Tourism Product Innovation and two for Best of Mexico.

Bodega Santo Tomás in Ensenada clinched an award for Romance Tourism Innovation, while Rancho La Puerta in Tecate was recognized for Health and Wellness Tourism. Additionally, Tijuana’s Baja Culinary Fest won third place in the Gastronomic Festival category. Governor Ávila highlighted these achievements, emphasizing the state’s success in providing immersive experiences in food and wine, and its appeal for road trip enthusiasts.

Governor Ávila also stressed the importance of inclusive tourism, aiming to make it accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. This commitment was underscored by a new partnership with the International Organization for Social Tourism and a collaboration with Volaris airline to boost state connectivity and stimulate economic activity, aiming to improve quality of life across Baja California’s seven municipalities.

Que Pasa in Baja?

BY OLIVER QUINTERO

Goodbye to Card Fees! In a unanimous decision, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies has given the green light to a reform that aims to ban the extra charges consumers face when paying with bank cards. Garnering a whopping 446 votes in favor, this move is celebrated across all political spectrums. The reform updates the Federal Consumer Protection Law, making it illegal for providers to impose additional fees for payments made with debit or credit cards. Offenders could face fines ranging from a few hundred to over two million pesos. Now, it’s off to the Senate for further discussion. If passed, this could mean more money in your pocket after each swipe or tap.

Ensenada’s Big Cleanup: 70 Tons Lighter. In Ensenada, a staggering 70 tons of trash were cleared from local beaches in March, with 10 tons collected just over the Easter weekend. Mayor Carlos Ibarra Aguiar praised the Zofemat team’s efforts to protect the coastal environment but expressed disappointment over the lack of awareness among locals and visitors about the environmental damage caused by littering. Despite having trash bins readily available on the beaches, many choose to leave their waste behind, including plastic containers, disposable dishes, and even clothing. It’s a pressing reminder that enjoying nature comes with the responsibility of keeping it clean.

Rosarito’s Easter Week Sees Dips in Hotel Stays. This Easter, Rosarito experienced an average hotel occupancy rate of 64%, with weather playing a significant role in the decreased number of visitors compared to last year, shared César Rivera González, the head of Cotuco in Rosarito. The peak occupancy hit 82% on Friday, but by Sunday, it dramatically dropped to 34%. Despite this, the beaches still welcomed around 20,000 people, with Friday seeing the highest turnout at 15,000. This year’s figures are a notable dip from last year’s 35,000 visitors, indicating a shift in the holiday’s typical bustling activity.

As if Spring Break’s Damp Spirits Weren’t Enough… Spring break in Rosarito didn’t just fall short due to weather; locals say the real storm cloud was fear of police. Local businessowners with decades of experience say they have never seen such a slow season, dismissing rain as the deterrent. It’s not the weather keeping the party at bay, but police intimidation, they argue. With the streets eerily quiet, the usual vibrant start to the high season was missing, signaling a potentially bleak summer ahead. Desperate for a lifeline, merchants are calling on officials to address this tourism crisis before it’s too late, as fear shadows the once bustling beach town.

From Silent Streets to Booming Leases. Not all are bad news, as spring breathes new life into Rosarito, the real estate market is buzzing, especially with short-term rentals, offering a silver lining amidst tourism concerns. Mar Picazo, head of the local AMPI chapter, highlights a spike in demand for vacation and long-term rentals, bringing optimism to property owners. Despite fears of fraud, particularly in cash transactions potentially hinting at money laundering, professional real estate agents are steering clients clear of legal pitfalls by adhering to cash transaction limits. The city remains vigilant against rare “ghost” agent scams, relying on thorough checks and the expertise of real estate professionals to maintain a healthy, scam-free market.

Only 13% Trust Tap Water In Baja. In Baja California, just over a tenth of the population dares to drink water straight from the tap, and why would they do that? That’s  a significant trust deficit revealed by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) in 2023. With a mere 13.2% of residents confident in their tap water’s potability, Baja finds itself in the lower ranks nationally, where the average hovers around 20.9%. This skepticism contrasts sharply with Tlaxcala, where nearly half the population trusts their water, highlighting a broader concern over water quality across Mexico. Despite most residents relying on public water networks, satisfaction dips as issues like purity, constant supply, and infrastructure efficiency linger, underscoring the critical need for improvements in water services and infrastructure in the region.

Vehicle Accident Deaths Spike in Ensenada. In just the first two months of 2024, Ensenada witnessed a staggering 350% increase in fatalities from vehicle accidents compared to the same period last year, with 21 lives tragically lost. Authorities link this surge to drunk driving, emphasizing a need for greater awareness and stricter enforcement of road safety measures. February alone saw 15 deaths, a significant jump from just six across January and February of 2023. The local government plans to ramp up random DUI checkpoints across the city, aiming to stem this worrying trend and remind everyone of the importance of responsible driving.

Four Baja California Beaches Deemed Unfit for Swimmers. Just before the 2024 Easter break, health authorities flagged four Baja California beaches as unsafe for recreational use due to high bacteria levels. The Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris) released findings from pre-vacation monitoring, indicating elevated enterococcus counts in the waters of two beaches in Rosarito and two in Tijuana, surpassing the health safety limits. Conversely, Ensenada’s popular spots like La Joya and Playa Hermosa passed the tests, ensuring they’re clean for holidaymakers. This analysis comes from extensive testing across the country, highlighting the importance of clean beaches for public health.

Celebrating Ensenada’s Global Community. Ensenada gears up to celebrate its diverse expat community with the Baja International Community Mega Mixer 2024, spearheaded by the National Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Services (Canaco-Servytur). The event, set for May 5th, aims to honor the economic contributions of foreign residents. Expecting over 300 attendees from various nationalities, the gathering will offer cultural presentations and a gastronomic showcase. Organizers emphasize the importance of recognizing expats as integral members of the community, contributing to the local economy. This initiative, hoping to become an Ensenada tradition, also includes discussions on fostering a sense of belonging in border tourist towns.

Rising Abortion Requests in our State. Baja California has seen a significant rise in abortion requests this year, with the Health Secretary reporting 265 procedures so far—an increase of 95% compared to the first three months of 2023. Lucia Alejandra Pérez from the Gender Equity and Reproductive Health department notes that most applicants are aged 25 to 35, with cases up to 45 years also reported. The service, which is free and medication-based, doesn’t delve into the reasons behind the request, adhering strictly to legal guidelines. Mexicali, Tijuana, and Ensenada lead in requests, with abortion services provided exclusively by state health facilities since its decriminalization in 2021.

State Hits Record $58 Billion in International Sales. Baja California’s international sales soared to over $58 billion in 2023, marking a 4.2% growth from 2022. Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda shared this milestone, highlighting the U.S. as the state’s top trading partner. With trade extending to 124 countries, the U.S. dominates, accounting for 94.8% of transactions. Canada and Colombia follow. Key exports included monitors, motor vehicles for cargo, and medical instruments, showcasing a diverse industrial base. Meanwhile, international purchases also hit a record high of $49.53 billion, with the U.S., China, and South Korea as top suppliers, emphasizing the region’s robust economic connections.

Residents Disapprove of Street Conditions. In Baja California, a whopping 92.9% of residents are unhappy with the state of their city streets, leaving only a small 7.1% satisfied, reveals the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). This dissatisfaction score ranks as the lowest in public services across the state, starkly contrasting the national approval average of 16.6%. Issues range from delayed pothole repairs to poorly maintained traffic lights and signage. Additionally, while some find non-toll roads safe and well-marked, overall satisfaction with road services remains low, highlighting a significant area for improvement in urban infrastructure.

Cycling for a Cause. Ready to ride for a noble cause? The Pedaleando Rosarito – Valle de Guadalupe 60 km bike ride on April 13 aims to fund a year of cancer treatment for five children. Organized by the Castro Limón Foundation, the event promises a scenic 60 km journey from Baja Studios in Rosarito to Viñedos Bibayoff in Valle de Guadalupe. Each child’s treatment costs about 1 million pesos, covering everything from medical expenses to psychological support. With hydration points and gifts along the route, participants can enjoy a fulfilling ride while contributing to an impactful cause. Join the ride and help make a difference!

Catch a Glimpse: Partial Solar Eclipse in Baja California. Exciting news for sky watchers in Baja California! On April 8, around 10:00 AM local time, you’ll get to see the moon covering more than half of the sun during a solar eclipse. Unlike many astronomical events that happen over the ocean, this eclipse’s path will cross over land, with Mexico being one of the prime viewing locations. The event will start around 10:00 AM Pacific time and will last for about three hours, peaking at about an hour and a half in. Remember to protect your eyes with special eclipse glasses or use a simple pinhole projector to safely enjoy the view. Don’t miss out on this rare celestial phenomenon!

The Sweet Sound of “Two for One!”

Kraken is the place!

BY MARTINA DOBESH

There is nothing that perks up the ears of local residents faster than the call Two for One drinks!

Kraken knows how to get attention and bring people in to fill the empty seat that appear in off season along the Baja Coast. Summer is approaching soon and we can expect the tourist to pack all the eateries having an ocean view. 

Monday through Thursday 12:00 to 5:00 you can order your two for one margaritas and/or the house cervezas along with the special menu each day starting with Monday pizza, Taco Tuesday 2 for 1, Wednesday 40% off sushi rolls and Thursday good ol’ home cooked fried chicken. The friendly staff is just one of the outstanding features of this hidden gem. We do love the murals of old sailing ships being attacked by the infamous Kraken and the giant fish gliding along one wall. If you want to have the experience of the “old” Baja fishcamps this is the place as there are very few remaining. 

The menu is a wonderful variation of hearty steaks, Pesto pasta and shrimp, sushi and gourmet tacos that with rock your ship! Add to this an array of libation that will sooth the hearty sailor. Make it a point to visit Monday through Thursday for the specials, or come on the weekends and sit out side with a view of the wild seascape. This is one of a kind.

661-104-3840

Free Road Km 52 at Playa El Campito

Crossing South Wine & Food Festival – Segunda Edicion

BY REN DRAKE HILL

Directly from last year’s “resounding success,” the Crossing South Wine and Food Festival will again adorn the Gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Saturday, April 20, 3 – 9 pm. Crossing South claims there was an “overwhelming” demand for a second Festival. Jorge Meraz, host of Crossing South on PBS will again be the Host of Honor this year. There will be many photo ops around the festival, so feel free to take some snaps of your favorite chefs, vintners, and the host Jorge, himself. 

Due to this success, the number of restaurants, wineries and entertainers were expanded. Thirteen wineries of the Valle de Guadalupe will join with 25 restaurants and three craft breweries from Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and points in between. Restaurants will provide tastes of their signature dishes. Now I know you may have a different “signature dish” in your minds, but this will be a chance to sample other great menu items from your favorite bistros. All this while being entertained by many talented musicians and entertainers. There may even be a salsa dancing class, or two.

This year’s Crossing South event promises to be more spectacular. One new touch, to celebrate spring, the Crossing South Wine and Food Fest will be a White Attire Event. (I hope I can still wear my blue Crossing South hat!)

Some of the local restaurants include Marea Alta, Pasta y Basta, Chaubert’s (Rosarito Beach Hotel’s fine dining establishment), Tacos Kokopelli, ad Hacienda de Badu, a favorite of roasted lamb lovers. 

Crossing South on PBS is in its 12th season. New episodes featuring arts, artists, culture, and food, from fine dining to the best in taco stands, will be airing starting this month. If you are unable to catch the episodes as they air on PBS, many episodes are available at the PBS website. Some past shows have highlighted the Blues Against Hunger drive and the Rosarito Club de Ninos y Ninas. 

PBS joins COTUCO and CANIRAC of Rosarito, the ministry of tourism, and the Chamber of Restaurants as co-hosts of this gastronomic event. 

Tickets are available at www.Eventbrite.com, under “events in Mexico.” General admission to this “all you can eat/sip event”: $80; VIP admission $150, or $72 and $145.90 respectively with the 10% discount. Last year this event sold out, so get your tickets pronto. Your attendance doesn’t merely delight your taste buds, but you will be supporting the emergent culinary scene in northern Baja California. 

Crossing South is a “Feel good” show to entice those in the southern US to visit our beautiful Baja, and to remind those of us living here, Tijuana to Ensenada, what a culinary paradise we are living in.

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Celebrating Baja’s Marine Delights and New Wines

BY LUISA ROSAS

In the scenic coastal city of Ensenada, the anticipation is palpable as the Provino Committee of Baja California, under the fresh leadership of Engineer Wenceslao Martínez Payán, has unveiled the eagerly awaited details of the 24th Festival of the Shell and New Wine. Set against the backdrop of the enchanting Hotel Coral & Marina, the announcement, made on March 14th, promises a vibrant tribute to local ingredients perfectly paired with the region’s latest vintages.

This annual celebration, born from a simple gathering on San Miguel beach among friends—six winemakers, four shellfish producers, and two chefs—has flourished over 24 years into a grand platform showcasing the splendor of Baja California. It unites the viticultural, aquacultural, and gastronomic sectors, creating a sense of community centered around the region’s oysters and newly released wines.

The festival, taking place from April 12th to 14th, has lined up an array of activities designed to delight and educate attendees. Highlights include the 15th Shellfish Cultivation Workshops and, for the first time, a Startups Contest from April 8th to 12th. This competition invites innovative business ideas within the oyster and wine sectors, particularly focusing on enotourism, food, and economics, with the best projects presented on April 12th.

The festival also features the fourth installment of “Marine Tables,” an exquisite enogastronomic experience where guests are treated to a four-course pairing menu by the sea, showcasing a variety of shellfish accompanied by the region’s finest wines. A team of three pastry chefs will prepare 330 desserts for this unique dining adventure, highlighting the collaboration and creativity that define the festival.

The main event on April 14th, the XXIV Festival, will be held at the Hotel Coral & Marina’s Terrace del Mar, featuring over 84 wineries and 60 restaurants from across Baja California and beyond. Attendees can expect a splendid array of seafood dishes and over 160 wine labels, emphasizing whites, rosés, and sparkling wines, along with some young reds that complement marine flavors.

In addition to tasting opportunities, the festival emphasizes educational experiences, including a pavilion dedicated to aquaculture and fishing, where around 20 companies will showcase their products and engage with the public about the importance of sustainable seafood consumption. As Provino’s President, Wenceslao Martínez, aptly put it, this joint effort not only highlights the region’s bounty but also cements its status as a leading enogastronomic destination. Attendees are invited to become ambassadors of local ingredients, embracing the richness of Ensenada’s maritime and viticultural heritage.

Tickets for the Festival of the Shell and New Wine are $1,200 pesos, the marine tables  experience is $3,500 pesos, for more details and information, visit Provino’s official website provinobc.mx

Hurricane Hilary Nears Cabo as Category 4

UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Hilary Provino has announced that the Paellas Contest that was going to be held this Sunday has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 27, 2023. The Ensenada half marathon race has also been rescheduled for the following weekend.

Hurricane Hilary intensified on Thursday, reaching Category 4 strength off the Pacific coast of Mexico and is expected to bring heavy downpours to the southwestern United States over the weekend.

As of early Friday morning, the storm boasted sustained winds around 220 kilometers per hour (136 miles per hour). According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, it was anticipated that the hurricane would continue gaining strength until later in the morning. Meteorologists, however, expect Hilary to start weakening by Saturday.

Tropical storm conditions might begin to affect the Baja California peninsula by late Friday. Hilary’s projected path could either lead it to make landfall in central parts of the peninsula by Sunday, or it might stay offshore as it moves toward Southern California.

The center of Hilary was located about 685 kilometers (425 miles) south of Los Cabos, at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. It was moving in a west-northwest direction at around 22 kilometers per hour (13.6 miles per hour), but is expected to gradually turn northward on Saturday.

The Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning and a tropical storm alert for parts of Baja California Sur, meaning tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours and hurricane conditions within 48 hours. There’s also a tropical storm alert for other areas of Baja California.

Meteorologists speculate that as Hilary approaches or grazes the Baja California peninsula, it could briefly survive as a tropical storm or depression and cross into the United States. Notably, no tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California since September 25, 1939, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

“The rains from Hilary in the southwestern U.S. are predicted to peak this weekend and into Monday,” the NHC pointed out. “Flash and urban flooding are a possibility, with potential significant impacts.”

The area that could be affected by the heavy rains stretches from Bakersfield, California, through Yuma, Arizona, and into parts of southern Nevada. The forecast for excessive rainfall in Southern California spans from Sunday to Tuesday, the Los Angeles meteorological office reported.

While the chances of Hilary making landfall as a tropical storm in California are slim, there’s potential for heavy rainfall and flooding, noted Daniel Swain, a climatologist at UCLA, on Wednesday.

The Mexican government has indicated that the weakened storm could hit between the cities of Playas de Rosarito and Ensenada in the state of Baja California by Sunday night.

Meanwhile, the city of Yuma was preparing on Thursday by setting up a self-service station for residents to fill sandbags. The station will be stocked with sand and bags as long as supplies last, with residents allowed to take up to five bags per vehicle.

Governor of Baja Warns Citizens to Stay Indoors During Hurricane Hilary

The Governor of Baja California, Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda, has urged the state’s residents to be attentive to the developments of Hurricane “Hilary,” while emphasizing that there’s no need for undue alarm.

Currently, Hurricane Hilary is classified under the Yellow code. However, the Governor pointed out that once the hurricane reaches Baja California, it may be upgraded to the more serious Red code. As such, she stressed the importance of taking this warning with the gravity it deserves.

The first signs of rain, albeit mild, are expected to begin by Saturday and are forecasted to intensify come Sunday. The Governor noted, “It is essential to alert the public without causing panic. It’s understandable for citizens to be anxious about such situations. I urge everyone to stay updated through official media channels where continuous information will be provided.”

USA Issues Alert for Spring Breakers Traveling to Mexico

The United States has issued a travel alert for citizens traveling to Mexico during Spring Break, urging them to take precautions against potential risks such as violence, drugs, and unregulated alcohol, particularly in the beaches of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo.

The government warns that while thousands of US citizens travel to Mexico during this period safely each year, they should consider these recommendations when planning their trip.

The government advises that violence can occur anywhere in Mexico, even in tourist destinations, so travelers should remain vigilant of their surroundings, avoid areas where illegal activities occur, and quickly distance themselves from potentially dangerous situations.

“US citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break vacation destinations, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark,” the advisory states.

It emphasizes that the possession and use of drugs, including medical marijuana, is illegal in Mexico and can result in a lengthy prison sentence.

“US citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills,” the alert warns.

The government advises that all firearms and even small amounts of ammunition are illegal in Mexico. Violations related to firearms and other weapons can result in an extended period in jail.

The advisory notes that unregulated alcohol can be contaminated, and US citizens have reported losing consciousness or being injured after consuming potentially contaminated alcohol.

In addition, it points out that counterfeit drugs are common and can be ineffective, have the wrong concentration, or contain dangerous ingredients, so they should only be purchased at regulated establishments.

There have been cases where US citizens have been victims of rape and sexual assault, the alert notes, and that perpetrators may target intoxicated or isolated individuals or use drugs that alter the victim’s physical or mental state.

Water Supply in Ensenada Insufficient for This Summer

The urban area of Ensenada will suffer serious water supply problems during the summer season, which requires immediate action to expand sources of supply, but also for the population to make more efficient use of the water resource. Wenceslao Martínez Santos, coordinator of the Water Interdisciplinary Group (GIA), indicated that while in other cities of the state the so-called “Green Bonus” was announced, in Ensenada no specific program with that resource is known. “In the last meeting we had with officials from the Secretariat for Water Management, Sanitation and Protection (Seproa), there was no specific data on any program already authorized to apply the Green Bonus in this municipality,” he said.

Martínez Santos indicated that the supply sources are insufficient to cover the demand of the Ensenada population, and with a distribution system that has constant leaks, between 30 to 40 percent of the distributed water is lost. He added that, so far, there is no knowledge of a substantial increase in supply sources, and regarding what is announced as the solution, which is the expansion of the water desalination plant, the works would take a year and a half to two years.

It is essential, emphasized Martínez Santos, that the amplification of that plant begins as soon as possible because as the supply sources decrease, the number of inhabitants increases, and consequently, the demand for water also increases.

SOURCE: El Vigia

New Cold Front to Enter Baja California, Warns Civil Protection

According to reports, a new cold front is expected to enter Baja California, which could bring significant drops in temperature across the region. The state’s civil protection agency has warned residents to prepare for potential cold weather hazards, including heavy rain, snowfall and icy roads on the highest part of the state.

The cold front is expected to arrive Tuesday night, and its effects are likely to be felt for several days. Temperatures are expected to drop by up to 10 degrees Celsius, which could result in dangerous conditions for those who are not adequately prepared.

Residents are being advised to take precautions, such as ensuring that their homes are properly insulated and that they have enough warm clothing and blankets. Motorists are also being urged to exercise caution when driving, particularly on highways and mountainous areas where black ice could form.

This is not the first time that Baja California has experienced cold weather in recent months. In January, a cold front brought snow and freezing temperatures to the region, causing several road closures and power outages. The civil protection agency responded by setting up shelters for those in need and distributing blankets and other supplies to affected communities.

As climate change continues to impact weather patterns around the world, extreme weather events such as cold snaps are becoming more common. It is essential that governments and communities take steps to prepare for these events, including investing in infrastructure to withstand extreme weather and educating citizens on how to stay safe during these periods.

In Baja California, the civil protection agency plays a critical role in responding to cold weather events and ensuring that residents are aware of the risks and how to stay safe. By staying vigilant and taking the necessary precautions, residents can help minimize the impact of the cold front and protect themselves and their communities from harm.

Water Watch 2022! Part 2

I stood on a hilltop with Cornelio Zapata, a 30 year resident of La Misión. We look down on the estuary and the la Misión River. He shakes his head and says with deep concern, “I have never seen the river so low. It use to run all the way out to the ocean and there were clear pure swimming places. Now it is green with algae.” His small comfortable home was once the only dwelling on the hill. He has had at one time a vast nearly 360 degree view of the ocean and all the way to the eastern mountains. Now it is surrounded by huge multilevel homes all needing water. He is experiencing for the first time a new water restriction.  Senor Zapata added that his good friend, who grew the sweetest white corn, can’t grow it this year; his pump can no longer reach the aquifer which is now too low. While La Misión has always had a natural supply of water from the mountain region and aquifers, it is being threatened. The major cities of Tijuana to Ensenada are impacted by the Colorado River allotment cutbacks which were reported in Part 1 of Water Watch 2022.  

Local Reports and Solutions for 2022 Historically people act when motivated to do so. The question is will we be forced into this new reality? Will it be a wakeup to learn we have outgrown Baja’s natural resources, as well as the Colorado River allotment of 1944? Senior Zapata is not the only one in La Misión with water issues. Several new mega houses were built next to his home and neither was given access to water by La Misión Water Company. These homes will rely on the water trucks to chug up the hill. It is reported that the truck owners have their own private wells where they fill up their trucks. Many of the easy sources dried up this year. 

John Stadelmann, The President of the Board of Directors for ten years of La Misión Water Company addresses this in his newly released video.  He is proud to announce that water delivery to the homes in La Misión has been “spectacular,” compared to CSPT delivery records in Tijuana and Ensenada. CSPT has frequent break downs and repairs, and “they just don’t have enough water to go around.” Mr. Stadelmann goes on to say that it is important to know the Water Board operates on a license with CONAGUA, the federal water board for all of Mexico. These licenses have 10 year duration, but La Misión’s expired in 2018. Given the fact that high powered lawyers have worked hard to resolve this, the license is still not renewed four years later. “There is a rumor, Stadelmann shared, “between water experts and lawyers that CONAGUA has an intent to close the small private wells to make it possible to give the big municipal suppliers like CSPT of Tijuana and Ensenada, more water volume to distribute.” The La Misión Water Company will fight to keep their water rights.

Mr. Stadelmann continued, “The second more immediate and larger threat comes from within our very community.” CONAGUA, dictates just how much water can be pump from the aquifer each year. Consider the fact that we are able to pump 10 million gallons per year! All the rules on usage per household are driven by this limit.” He said that in 2018 the community rarely used more than two-thirds of the total, and were safely within the limit. But in 2021 it shot up to 82%; at this rate the usage will exceed the license by 2024. Stadelmann warns, “If the abuses continue CONAGUA can shut down our well. It would be an utter catastrophe.” He points a finger directly at the issue of the increase in homes being built and the thoughtless chronic over users. The water is not for swimming pools, fountains, or landscapes. “These chronic over users could be the cause of our license to be repealed…The message is simple, the solutions are not. We all must use a whole lot less if we expect to continue to live here. It requires education, reeducation, some technology and lots of discipline. We are in it together.” These words apply to every coastal community in this state.

Local Reports and long time resident of Bajamar, Ruth Rockwell, says that they have had to close 9 holes of the golf course. Residents in Ensenada are out of city water for a week or more.  Punta Del Mar uses their gray water for landscaping. San Antonio Del Mar is attempting to put together a plan to become self-sufficient, and not rely on the government’s delivery system. John Stadelmann stresses that the water trucks will have to travel to the high plateau and fill from the catch basin which is meant to recharge the underground sources. The increase in rates can’t be far behind. It is skillful to question any new developers as to how they will address their own water and wastewater issues. It isn’t how beautiful the future home may appear, but will there be water to flush the toilet. 

Real Solutions should have begun two decades ago. Now it is a rush to catch up, if and when the issue seems real enough in people’s minds. Humanity along the Colorado River has literally drunk the once mighty Colorado dry. Drilling deeper and desal plants are future timelines with major issues. Be careful falling into false hope; be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  If there is a first most important step it would be to appreciate and develop gratitude for the water every time we use it. Realize how many times a day we need it. Appreciation can create the first abatement to our overuse. The next step, get serious about the water declines. We can act now from the comfort of our homes. Create appreciation by taking a few minutes to watch the two videos below. Educate yourself and look for personal solutions. Support the front line workers and begin to understand that we are all interdependent and share this extraordinary water network. 

Martina is a Freelance writer, see her ad for ordering her travel book, Dust In My Sandals

Contact Information:

Margarita Diaz Directora Proyecto Fronterizo

664-630-0590, Cell 664-188-62-36

margarita@pfea.org   www.pfea.org

John Stadelmann link for La Misión

Videos of our Water’s 86 mile journey to our homes

www.cea.gob.mx/arct.html

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