Saving Webb Lake

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – California’s drought is creating a major issue for people in Rancho Bernardo. A man-made lake could disappear unless a solution is found fast. Now, the community is pulling together to try to save Webb Lake.

The owners of Webb Lake have agreed to delay a decision on removing the lake so the community can have time to raise the $75,000 needed to drill a well.

"I’m so excited and encouraged, we’re moving forward," said Scott Lawn, who is spearheading the Save Webb Lake campaign.

Lawn said the Bernardo Town Center Property Owners Association board agreed on Sept. 9 to give him until Jan. 1, 2016, to raise the money. This was Lawn’s second presentation to the board, this time after gathering around $20,000 in pledges.

His first presentation was during BTCPOA’s August meeting, when Lawn suggested drilling a well to fill the decades-old man-made lake in lieu of removing it due to the region’s four-year drought. At that time, he volunteered to lead fundraising efforts to finance the project.

Lawn said Tuesday that the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation (an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation) has agreed to be the fundraiser’s non-profit sponsor and establish a fund so Save Webb Lake contributions can be tax-deductible for donors. Lawn is the foundation’s vice president.

With the fund in place, Lawn said, "I (soon) expect the pledges to turn into actual donations."

Those wanting to make a contribution can write a check to "Save the Lake – TSDF" and mail it to The San Diego Foundation, Save the Lake Fund, 2509 Historic Decatur, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92106.

He also said the $1,930 donated as of Tuesday through the GoFundMe account he established last month will be transferred into the foundation’s fund and the website will be shut down by next week. It was established as a temporary location for locals to contribute until a non-profit sponsor could be secured.

Lawn said in coming days he will be speaking to several community organizations in order to recruit volunteers and see if the groups will contribute sizable donations. He has also been meeting with local government officials to begin their grant application processes.

"Getting (BTCPOA approval) was the first hurdle," Lawn said. "It is out of the way, so now we need the community’s help."

A meeting for anyone interested in volunteering to distribute fliers, organize fundraiser events or promote the fundraiser through their social media will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 at the Courtyard by Marriott, 11611 Bernardo Plaza Court in Rancho Bernardo. Those interested can just show up. If they cannot attend, they can contact Lawn at greenway1@sbcglobal.net or 858-486-8277.

"I’ve received a lot of interest from people asking how they can help," Lawn said.

Among those who have stepped forward to voice their support are business owners who are part of the BTCPOA, he said.

Webb Lake is located in Webb Park, which was built in the 1970s behind downtown Rancho Bernardo businesses that line the west side of Bernardo Center Drive. The park roughly covers 4 1/3 acres, which includes the 30,000 square foot surface area man-made lake.

According to Lawn, the association’s annual water costs are around $50,000 for the park and the lake uses about 8 million gallons of water per year. The water comes from the city’s system. After being in the lake for awhile, during which time it picks up nutrients from the lake’s plant matter, fish and other inhabitants, the lake water is recirculated to irrigate the privately-owned park that is used for many community events.

Lawn said in addition to getting the board’s agreement to wait until Jan. 1 on making a decision, he got it to also make some assurances to the community. These include that the well water only be used for the park and lake, not for the benefit of any nearby businesses. In addition, the park must remain open to the community and the BTCPOA will pay for future park, lake and well maintenance.

If the community is unable to raise the needed money by Jan. 1, Lawn said the donated money will be returned to contributors. If a well is built and donations exceed the cost, a decision will be made on how to spend the remainder in the community.
 

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